Ball Corp. (NYSE:BLL) saw strong trading volume on Thursday . 5,010,145 shares traded hands during mid-day trading, an increase of 46% from the previous session’s volume of 3,442,452 shares.The stock last traded at $71.30 and had previously closed at $71.33.

Several research analysts recently issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Ball Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, May 2nd. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Ball Corp. in a research report on Saturday, July 9th. Jefferies Group reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Ball Corp. in a research report on Friday, June 10th. Barclays PLC assumed coverage on shares of Ball Corp. in a research report on Thursday. They issued an “equal weight” rating and a $75.00 target price for the company. Finally, TheStreet lowered shares of Ball Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 28th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ball Corp. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $78.83.

The stock has a market capitalization of $9.93 billion and a PE ratio of 74.98. The company’s 50-day moving average is $72.00 and its 200 day moving average is $70.43.

Ball Corp. (NYSE:BLL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 28th. The company reported $0.58 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $1.90 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.89 billion. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 8.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.69 earnings per share. On average, analysts predict that Ball Corp. will post $3.53 EPS for the current year.

In other Ball Corp. news, COO James N. Peterson sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.56, for a total transaction of $145,120.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 15,626 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,133,822.56. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Hanno C. Fiedler bought 7,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, May 6th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $71.77 per share, with a total value of $502,390.00. Following the purchase, the director now owns 124,418 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,929,479.86. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here.

A number of hedge funds and institutional investors recently made changes to their positions in BLL. Marshall Wace LLP raised its position in shares of Ball Corp. by 336.9% in the fourth quarter. Marshall Wace LLP now owns 750,213 shares of the company’s stock valued at $54,563,000 after buying an additional 578,494 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Ball Corp. by 2.1% in the fourth quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 12,004,503 shares of the company’s stock valued at $873,086,000 after buying an additional 252,564 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its position in shares of Ball Corp. by 52.9% in the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 179,459 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,052,000 after buying an additional 62,087 shares during the period. Winton Capital Group Ltd raised its position in shares of Ball Corp. by 150.5% in the fourth quarter. Winton Capital Group Ltd now owns 76,968 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,598,000 after buying an additional 46,246 shares during the period. Finally, Quantitative Investment Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Ball Corp. during the fourth quarter valued at $2,065,000.

Ball Corporation (Ball) is a supplier of metal packaging to the beverage, food, personal care and household products industries. The Company’s packaging products are produced for a range of end uses and are manufactured in facilities around the world. The Company operates in four segments: metal beverage packaging, Americas and Asia; metal beverage packaging, Europe; metal food and household products packaging, and aerospace and technologies.

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