Steris PLC (NYSE:STE) Short Interest Down 34.5% in February

Steris PLC (NYSE:STE) was the recipient of a large decline in short interest during the month of February. As of February 14th, there was short interest totalling 1,330,000 shares, a decline of 34.5% from the January 30th total of 2,030,000 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 726,900 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 1.8 days. Approximately 1.6% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

Steris stock traded up $0.57 during trading on Wednesday, reaching $165.44. 1,086,843 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 627,701. The company’s 50-day moving average is $157.07 and its two-hundred day moving average is $150.27. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37, a quick ratio of 1.78 and a current ratio of 2.34. Steris has a 52-week low of $118.18 and a 52-week high of $168.98. The firm has a market cap of $14.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 35.97 and a beta of 0.90.

Steris (NYSE:STE) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 10th. The medical equipment provider reported $1.45 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.42 by $0.03. Steris had a net margin of 13.21% and a return on equity of 16.33%. The firm had revenue of $774.30 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $748.45 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.26 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 11.2% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts anticipate that Steris will post 5.63 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 26th. Investors of record on Tuesday, February 25th will be given a dividend of $0.37 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, February 24th. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.89%. Steris’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 30.27%.

In other news, Director Mohsen Sohi sold 3,121 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $165.65, for a total transaction of $516,993.65. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 25,482 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,221,093.30. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Richard Martin Steeves sold 5,854 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, December 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $153.77, for a total value of $900,169.58. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 19,214 shares of company stock valued at $2,975,755 over the last 90 days. Insiders own 2.36% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Steris by 6.1% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 9,052,709 shares of the medical equipment provider’s stock worth $1,347,769,000 after purchasing an additional 522,254 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its position in Steris by 27.5% during the 4th quarter. State Street Corp now owns 3,587,820 shares of the medical equipment provider’s stock worth $546,856,000 after purchasing an additional 774,516 shares during the period. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA boosted its position in Steris by 14.6% during the 4th quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 1,950,497 shares of the medical equipment provider’s stock worth $297,294,000 after purchasing an additional 248,912 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its position in Steris by 47.6% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,394,232 shares of the medical equipment provider’s stock worth $212,095,000 after purchasing an additional 449,941 shares during the period. Finally, William Blair Investment Management LLC boosted its position in Steris by 2.0% in the 4th quarter. William Blair Investment Management LLC now owns 1,068,697 shares of the medical equipment provider’s stock valued at $162,891,000 after buying an additional 20,636 shares during the last quarter. 86.78% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

A number of analysts have recently commented on the company. Stephens upped their price objective on Steris from $165.00 to $177.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 12th. Northcoast Research restated a “buy” rating on shares of Steris in a report on Wednesday, February 12th. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. Steris presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $152.75.

Steris Company Profile

STERIS plc provides infection prevention and other procedural products and services worldwide. The company operates in four segments: Healthcare Products, Healthcare Specialty Services, Life Sciences, and Applied Sterilization Technologies. The Healthcare Products segment offers cleaning chemistries and sterility assurance products; accessories for gastrointestinal (GI) procedures, washers, sterilizers, and other pieces of capital equipment for the operations of a sterile processing department; and equipment used in the operating room, including surgical tables, lights, equipment management services, and connectivity solutions.

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