Westpac Banking Corp Increases Position in Ball Co. (NYSE:BLL)

Westpac Banking Corp boosted its position in shares of Ball Co. (NYSE:BLL) by 21.0% in the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 338,380 shares of the industrial products company’s stock after acquiring an additional 58,724 shares during the period. Westpac Banking Corp’s holdings in Ball were worth $19,579,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in BLL. Norges Bank bought a new position in Ball during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $137,213,000. Iridian Asset Management LLC CT boosted its stake in Ball by 3,245.4% during the fourth quarter. Iridian Asset Management LLC CT now owns 2,733,765 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $125,699,000 after buying an additional 2,652,049 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its stake in Ball by 4,406.0% during the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 1,720,250 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $37,000 after buying an additional 1,682,073 shares during the last quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in Ball by 170.0% during the fourth quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,981,488 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $91,109,000 after buying an additional 1,247,491 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG boosted its stake in Ball by 70.6% during the fourth quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 2,427,814 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $111,625,000 after buying an additional 1,004,744 shares during the last quarter. 82.33% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

BLL stock traded up $0.17 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $66.61. 49,241 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,408,689. Ball Co. has a 52-week low of $34.71 and a 52-week high of $66.65. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.84, a current ratio of 1.09 and a quick ratio of 0.77. The company has a market cap of $22.31 billion, a PE ratio of 30.30, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.59 and a beta of 0.73.

Ball (NYSE:BLL) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 2nd. The industrial products company reported $0.49 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.50 by ($0.01). Ball had a net margin of 3.83% and a return on equity of 20.39%. The company had revenue of $2.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.66 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.50 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .0% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Ball Co. will post 2.61 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 17th. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 3rd will be issued a $0.15 dividend. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.90%. This is an increase from Ball’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 31st. Ball’s dividend payout ratio is presently 27.27%.

In other news, COO Daniel William Fisher sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.14, for a total value of $330,700.00. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 34,045 shares in the company, valued at $2,251,736.30. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, VP Scott C. Morrison sold 2,897 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.06, for a total value of $182,684.82. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 441,271 shares in the company, valued at $27,826,549.26. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 41,655 shares of company stock worth $2,597,872. Company insiders own 1.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities analysts recently commented on the company. Morgan Stanley increased their price target on Ball from $66.00 to $71.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 5th. Wells Fargo & Co upped their price objective on Ball from $66.00 to $68.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday, May 17th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Ball from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 7th. KeyCorp restated a “hold” rating on shares of Ball in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets downgraded Ball from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $58.10 price objective on the stock. in a research report on Monday, April 8th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Eight research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. Ball has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $56.93.

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Ball Profile

Ball Corp. provides metal packaging for beverages, foods and household products, and of aerospace and other technologies and services to commercial and governmental customers. It operates through the following business segments: Beverage Packaging, North and Central America; Beverage Packaging, South America; Beverage Packaging, Europe; Food and Aerosol Packaging; and Aerospace.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ball (NYSE:BLL)

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