Washington Prime Group (WPG) Raised to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Washington Prime Group (NYSE:WPG) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Washington Prime Group Inc. is a retail REIT. The company is engaged in the ownership, management, acquisition and development of retail properties. Washington Prime Group Inc., formerly known as WP Glimcher Inc., is based in COLUMBUS, United States. “

Several other brokerages have also recently weighed in on WPG. ValuEngine cut Washington Prime Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Thursday, April 11th. TheStreet raised Washington Prime Group from a d+ rating to a c rating in a research note on Thursday, March 7th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and one has given a hold rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of Sell and a consensus target price of $4.75.

Shares of WPG stock opened at $4.46 on Thursday. The firm has a market capitalization of $831.79 million, a P/E ratio of 2.95 and a beta of 1.01. Washington Prime Group has a twelve month low of $4.23 and a twelve month high of $8.44. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.40, a quick ratio of 0.51 and a current ratio of 0.51.

Washington Prime Group (NYSE:WPG) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 24th. The real estate investment trust reported ($0.03) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.29 by ($0.32). The firm had revenue of $168.82 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $169.27 million. Washington Prime Group had a return on equity of 7.53% and a net margin of 9.96%. Washington Prime Group’s revenue for the quarter was down 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.39 earnings per share. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Washington Prime Group will post 1.2 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 17th. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 3rd will be paid a $0.25 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 31st. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 22.42%. Washington Prime Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 66.23%.

In related news, CEO Louis G. Conforti bought 22,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 1st. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $4.55 per share, with a total value of $102,375.00. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, SVP Joshua Lindimore sold 5,116 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $5.75, for a total value of $29,417.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 18,920 shares in the company, valued at $108,790. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 17,314 shares of company stock worth $98,855. Insiders own 0.72% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WPG. Allstate Corp bought a new position in shares of Washington Prime Group during the first quarter valued at $137,000. Weiss Asset Management LP lifted its holdings in shares of Washington Prime Group by 18.2% during the first quarter. Weiss Asset Management LP now owns 29,714 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $168,000 after purchasing an additional 4,574 shares in the last quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of Washington Prime Group during the first quarter valued at $164,000. Hsbc Holdings PLC lifted its holdings in shares of Washington Prime Group by 24.7% during the first quarter. Hsbc Holdings PLC now owns 50,321 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $285,000 after purchasing an additional 9,955 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Washington Prime Group by 9.3% during the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 2,775,932 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $15,684,000 after purchasing an additional 236,923 shares in the last quarter. 84.01% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Washington Prime Group Company Profile

Washington Prime Group Inc is a retail REIT and a recognized leader in the ownership, management, acquisition and development of retail properties. The Company combines a national real estate portfolio with an investment grade balance sheet, leveraging its expertise across the entire shopping center sector to increase cash flow through rigorous management of assets and provide new opportunities to retailers looking for growth throughout the U.S.

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