Lakeland Financial Co. (NASDAQ:LKFN) Sees Significant Growth in Short Interest

Lakeland Financial Co. (NASDAQ:LKFN) was the target of a significant growth in short interest in the month of August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 2,180,200 shares, a growth of 9.1% from the July 31st total of 1,998,600 shares. Approximately 8.9% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 74,700 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 29.2 days.

NASDAQ LKFN traded down $0.14 on Monday, reaching $45.78. The company had a trading volume of 2,085 shares, compared to its average volume of 67,225. The company has a quick ratio of 0.98, a current ratio of 0.98 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.23. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.17 billion, a PE ratio of 14.66, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.40 and a beta of 0.95. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $43.38 and its 200 day moving average price is $45.69. Lakeland Financial has a 12 month low of $37.79 and a 12 month high of $49.20.

Lakeland Financial (NASDAQ:LKFN) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 25th. The financial services provider reported $0.85 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.81 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $50.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $49.78 million. Lakeland Financial had a net margin of 33.35% and a return on equity of 16.03%. On average, research analysts expect that Lakeland Financial will post 3.25 EPS for the current year.

In other Lakeland Financial news, Director Michael L. Kubacki sold 10,944 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.23, for a total value of $473,109.12. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 204,934 shares in the company, valued at $8,859,296.82. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director M Scott Welch purchased 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 14th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $42.51 per share, for a total transaction of $425,100.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 1,907 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $81,066.57. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders acquired 11,000 shares of company stock worth $468,290 and sold 13,044 shares worth $568,224. 4.60% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in Lakeland Financial by 0.9% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,843,217 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $86,318,000 after acquiring an additional 17,028 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in Lakeland Financial by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,193,513 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $55,892,000 after acquiring an additional 14,008 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its holdings in Lakeland Financial by 1.1% in the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,049,134 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $42,134,000 after acquiring an additional 11,809 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its holdings in Lakeland Financial by 6.5% in the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,021,829 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $47,852,000 after acquiring an additional 62,656 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Northern Trust Corp increased its holdings in Lakeland Financial by 0.5% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 689,515 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $32,290,000 after acquiring an additional 3,251 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 74.74% of the company’s stock.

Several research analysts have weighed in on LKFN shares. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Lakeland Financial from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 13th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Lakeland Financial from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded shares of Lakeland Financial from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 4th.

Lakeland Financial Company Profile

Lakeland Financial Corporation operates as the bank holding company for Lake City Bank that provides various banking products and services. The company accepts various deposit products, such as noninterest bearing, interest-bearing checking, savings, money market, NOW, and demand deposits. Its loan products include commercial and industrial, commercial real estate and multi-family residential, agri-business and agricultural, consumer 1-4 family mortgage, and other consumer loans.

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