An issue of Ball Co. (NYSE:BLL) debt fell 0.8% against its face value during trading on Wednesday after Citigroup lowered their price target on the stock from $45.00 to $44.00. The debt issue has a 5% coupon and is set to mature on March 15, 2022. The bonds in the issue are now trading at $103.13 and were trading at $103.00 last week. Price moves in a company’s debt in credit markets often predict parallel moves in its stock price.

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Ball from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 4th. ValuEngine cut shares of Ball from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 16th. TheStreet cut shares of Ball from a “b” rating to a “c+” rating in a report on Thursday, May 3rd. Finally, KeyCorp reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Ball in a report on Thursday, May 3rd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. Ball currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $45.31.

In other news, VP Scott C. Morrison sold 2,225 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $41.18, for a total transaction of $91,625.50. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 408,256 shares in the company, valued at $16,811,982.08. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP Scott C. Morrison sold 2,143 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $35.80, for a total transaction of $76,719.40. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 408,256 shares in the company, valued at $14,615,564.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 6,535 shares of company stock worth $250,279. Company insiders own 2.70% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of BLL. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its position in Ball by 32.3% during the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 22,174,838 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $880,562,000 after buying an additional 5,409,589 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in Ball by 0.9% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 21,517,763 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $854,472,000 after buying an additional 194,319 shares during the period. Manning & Napier Group LLC grew its position in Ball by 56.9% during the first quarter. Manning & Napier Group LLC now owns 3,944,675 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $156,641,000 after buying an additional 1,430,747 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. grew its position in Ball by 1.6% during the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 3,172,184 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $125,968,000 after buying an additional 49,713 shares during the period. Finally, Eaton Vance Management grew its position in Ball by 70.7% during the first quarter. Eaton Vance Management now owns 2,601,557 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $103,308,000 after buying an additional 1,077,639 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 86.77% of the company’s stock.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.72, a quick ratio of 0.69 and a current ratio of 1.07. The stock has a market capitalization of $12.94 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.46, a PEG ratio of 2.92 and a beta of 0.84.

Ball (NYSE:BLL) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, May 3rd. The industrial products company reported $0.50 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.05. Ball had a net margin of 4.04% and a return on equity of 19.86%. The company had revenue of $2.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.58 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.38 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.6% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts forecast that Ball Co. will post 2.31 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 1st were given a dividend of $0.10 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, May 31st. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.06%. Ball’s payout ratio is currently 19.61%.

Ball declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program on Wednesday, April 25th that authorizes the company to buyback 25,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the industrial products company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

About Ball

Ball Corporation supplies metal packaging products to the beverage, food, personal care, and household products industries. It operates in five segments: Beverage Packaging, North and Central America; Beverage Packaging, South America; Beverage Packaging, Europe; Food and Aerosol Packaging; and Aerospace.

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