Ball Co. (BLL) VP Sells $182,684.82 in Stock

Ball Co. (NYSE:BLL) VP Scott C. Morrison sold 2,897 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.06, for a total transaction of $182,684.82. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 441,271 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $27,826,549.26. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website.

NYSE BLL remained flat at $$62.57 during mid-day trading on Friday. 1,786,299 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,407,601. Ball Co. has a 52 week low of $34.71 and a 52 week high of $65.31. The stock has a market cap of $20.92 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.44, a P/E/G ratio of 4.35 and a beta of 0.83. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.84, a quick ratio of 0.77 and a current ratio of 1.09.

Ball (NYSE:BLL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 2nd. The industrial products company reported $0.49 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.50 by ($0.01). Ball had a return on equity of 20.39% and a net margin of 3.83%. The firm had revenue of $2.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.66 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.50 earnings per share. Ball’s revenue was up .0% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Ball Co. will post 2.61 earnings per share for the current year.

Ball announced that its board has approved a share repurchase program on Wednesday, January 23rd that authorizes the company to repurchase 50,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the industrial products company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 17th. Investors of record on Monday, June 3rd will be issued a $0.15 dividend. This is a positive change from Ball’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10. This represents a $0.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.96%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 31st. Ball’s payout ratio is presently 18.18%.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in Ball by 2.7% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 22,146,380 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $1,281,389,000 after purchasing an additional 580,211 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its position in Ball by 10.2% in the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 4,868,001 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $281,197,000 after purchasing an additional 450,726 shares during the period. Jackson Square Partners LLC bought a new stake in Ball in the 1st quarter worth approximately $254,594,000. Northern Trust Corp grew its position in Ball by 2.5% in the 4th quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 3,720,010 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $171,047,000 after purchasing an additional 91,945 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its position in Ball by 2.0% in the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 3,336,542 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $153,414,000 after purchasing an additional 63,862 shares during the period. 85.32% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Several brokerages have commented on BLL. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ball from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 7th. Wells Fargo & Co lifted their target price on shares of Ball from $66.00 to $68.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday. BMO Capital Markets lowered shares of Ball from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $58.10 target price for the company. in a report on Monday, April 8th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Morgan Stanley set a $55.00 target price on shares of Ball and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, February 5th. Finally, Citigroup lifted their target price on shares of Ball from $61.00 to $68.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, April 5th. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $56.26.

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About Ball

Ball Corp. provides metal packaging for beverages, foods and household products, and of aerospace and other technologies and services to commercial and governmental customers. It operates through the following business segments: Beverage Packaging, North and Central America; Beverage Packaging, South America; Beverage Packaging, Europe; Food and Aerosol Packaging; and Aerospace.

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