Stock Traders Buy Large Volume of The Williams Companies Put Options (NYSE:WMB)

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The Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB) was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Thursday. Stock traders bought 36,886 put options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 2,731% compared to the average daily volume of 1,303 put options.

Several equities research analysts have recently commented on the company. Royal Bank of Canada restated a “buy” rating on shares of The Williams Companies in a report on Tuesday, August 11th. Raymond James boosted their price objective on The Williams Companies from $22.00 to $24.00 and gave the company a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 21st. TD Securities boosted their price objective on The Williams Companies from $21.00 to $24.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 5th. ValuEngine downgraded The Williams Companies from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, October 1st. Finally, Citigroup boosted their price objective on The Williams Companies from $24.00 to $26.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 6th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating, twelve have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The Williams Companies has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $23.50.

Shares of NYSE:WMB opened at $20.04 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $24.32 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 182.20, a PEG ratio of 3.71 and a beta of 1.72. The company has a quick ratio of 0.90, a current ratio of 0.96 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.48. The Williams Companies has a 12-month low of $8.41 and a 12-month high of $24.17. The business’s 50 day moving average is $19.42 and its 200 day moving average is $19.80.

The Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Saturday, November 7th. The pipeline company reported $0.27 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.27. The Williams Companies had a return on equity of 7.77% and a net margin of 1.86%. The business had revenue of $1.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.76 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.26 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was down 3.3% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities research analysts expect that The Williams Companies will post 1.04 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 28th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 11th will be given a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 10th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 7.98%. The Williams Companies’s dividend payout ratio is currently 161.62%.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of WMB. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in The Williams Companies by 37.4% in the second quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 557,064 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $10,594,000 after purchasing an additional 151,509 shares during the last quarter. Global Retirement Partners LLC lifted its position in shares of The Williams Companies by 22.7% during the 2nd quarter. Global Retirement Partners LLC now owns 3,019 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $57,000 after buying an additional 559 shares during the last quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System lifted its position in shares of The Williams Companies by 1.2% during the 2nd quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System now owns 52,200 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $993,000 after buying an additional 600 shares during the last quarter. Stokes Capital Advisors LLC lifted its position in shares of The Williams Companies by 2.3% during the 2nd quarter. Stokes Capital Advisors LLC now owns 114,166 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $2,171,000 after buying an additional 2,617 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Raymond James Trust N.A. lifted its position in shares of The Williams Companies by 3.5% during the 2nd quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 52,972 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $1,007,000 after buying an additional 1,812 shares during the last quarter. 83.57% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About The Williams Companies

The Williams Companies, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an energy infrastructure company primarily in the United States. It operates through Atlantic-Gulf, Northeast G&P, and West segments. The Atlantic-Gulf segment comprises Transco, an interstate natural gas pipeline; and natural gas gathering and processing, and crude oil production handling and transportation assets.

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