Short Interest in First Data Corp (FDC) Grows By 11.0%

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First Data Corp (NYSE:FDC) was the target of a significant increase in short interest in the month of August. As of August 15th, there was short interest totalling 31,565,234 shares, an increase of 11.0% from the July 31st total of 28,444,183 shares. Currently, 7.0% of the shares of the stock are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 9,950,020 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 3.2 days.

FDC has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Data from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $21.00 price target for the company in a research report on Thursday, May 3rd. Nomura reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $18.00 price target on shares of First Data in a research report on Sunday, May 13th. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of First Data from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price target for the stock from $22.00 to $25.00 in a research report on Monday, June 11th. Stephens reiterated an “overweight” rating and issued a $25.00 price target on shares of First Data in a research report on Wednesday, June 13th. Finally, Morgan Stanley upped their target price on shares of First Data from $19.00 to $20.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 13th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. First Data has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $25.31.

Shares of NYSE:FDC opened at $25.15 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.77, a current ratio of 1.03 and a quick ratio of 1.03. First Data has a fifty-two week low of $14.73 and a fifty-two week high of $25.57. The firm has a market cap of $23.56 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.65, a P/E/G ratio of 1.89 and a beta of 1.48.

First Data (NYSE:FDC) last released its quarterly earnings data on Monday, July 30th. The business services provider reported $0.39 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.37 by $0.02. First Data had a net margin of 15.39% and a return on equity of 21.88%. The business had revenue of $2.23 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.20 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.40 earnings per share. First Data’s quarterly revenue was up 11.1% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that First Data will post 1.25 earnings per share for the current year.

In other First Data news, President Guy Chiarello sold 150,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $25.06, for a total value of $3,759,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the president now directly owns 1,408,272 shares in the company, valued at $35,291,296.32. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Jeff Shanahan sold 115,229 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $23.94, for a total transaction of $2,758,582.26. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 256,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,131,034. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders acquired 300 shares of company stock valued at $6,780 and sold 303,514 shares valued at $7,307,190. Corporate insiders own 5.60% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FDC. Point72 Asia Hong Kong Ltd bought a new position in First Data during the first quarter valued at $122,000. IBM Retirement Fund bought a new position in First Data during the first quarter valued at $167,000. Acadian Asset Management LLC bought a new position in First Data during the second quarter valued at $171,000. Wellington Shields Capital Management LLC bought a new position in First Data during the first quarter valued at $185,000. Finally, Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. bought a new position in First Data during the second quarter valued at $188,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 51.30% of the company’s stock.

About First Data

First Data Corporation provides electronic commerce solutions for merchants, financial institutions, and card issuers worldwide. It operates through three segments: Global Business Solutions (GBS), Global Financial Solutions (GFS), and Network & Security Solutions (NSS). The GBS segment offers retail point-of-sale merchant acquiring and e-commerce services; and mobile payment services, as well as its cloud-based Clover point-of-sale operating system, which includes a marketplace for proprietary and third-party business applications.

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