VEREIT Inc. (NYSE:VER) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of VEREIT Inc. (NYSE:VER) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday, July 19th. They currently have $9.50 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “VEREIT, Inc. is a real estate operating company. The Company owns and manages a diversified portfolio of retail, restaurant, office and industrial real estate assets. VEREIT, Inc., formerly known as American Realty Capital Properties Inc., is based in Phoenix, United States. “

A number of other analysts also recently issued reports on VER. BidaskClub downgraded VEREIT from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Saturday, June 24th. Evercore ISI reissued an in-line rating and set a $9.00 price objective on shares of VEREIT in a research report on Wednesday, April 26th. ValuEngine downgraded VEREIT from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets set a $10.00 price objective on VEREIT and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 22nd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $9.80.

Shares of VEREIT (VER) traded down 1.65% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $8.33. 11,015,193 shares of the stock were exchanged. The stock’s market cap is $8.11 billion. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $8.32 and a 200-day moving average price of $8.40. VEREIT has a 12 month low of $7.44 and a 12 month high of $10.76.

VEREIT (NYSE:VER) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 3rd. The financial services provider reported $0.02 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.18 by $0.16. The business had revenue of $336.90 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $296.02 million. VEREIT had a negative return on equity of 0.44% and a negative net margin of 2.72%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 9.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.19 earnings per share. Equities analysts expect that VEREIT will post ($1.70) earnings per share for the current year.

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VEREIT declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase plan on Monday, May 15th that permits the company to buyback $200.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization permits the financial services provider to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Investors of record on Friday, September 29th will be issued a dividend of $0.138 per share. This represents a $0.55 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 6.63%. This is a boost from VEREIT’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 28th. VEREIT’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is -499.95%.

In related news, Director Julie Richardson acquired 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 16th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $7.46 per share, for a total transaction of $111,900.00. Following the purchase, the director now owns 65,028 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $485,108.88. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider William Craig Jr. Miller acquired 12,725 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, May 22nd. The stock was bought at an average price of $7.86 per share, with a total value of $100,018.50. Following the purchase, the insider now directly owns 223,381 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,755,774.66. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have purchased a total of 49,725 shares of company stock valued at $378,489 over the last 90 days. 0.09% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of VEREIT by 2.5% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 155,944,544 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,323,969,000 after buying an additional 3,799,549 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of VEREIT by 1.4% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 77,878,258 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $633,927,000 after buying an additional 1,087,580 shares during the last quarter. Cbre Clarion Securities LLC boosted its position in shares of VEREIT by 5.4% in the second quarter. Cbre Clarion Securities LLC now owns 38,947,554 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $317,033,000 after buying an additional 2,004,074 shares during the last quarter. CI Investments Inc. boosted its position in shares of VEREIT by 0.9% in the second quarter. CI Investments Inc. now owns 24,529,315 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $199,669,000 after buying an additional 220,300 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Lasalle Investment Management Securities LLC boosted its position in shares of VEREIT by 72.6% in the first quarter. Lasalle Investment Management Securities LLC now owns 16,129,586 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $136,940,000 after buying an additional 6,783,213 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 84.82% of the company’s stock.

About VEREIT

VEREIT, Inc is a full-service real estate operating company. The Company operates through two business segments: real estate investment (REI) segment and investment management segment, Cole Capital. As of December 31, 2016, through its REI segment, the Company owned and managed a portfolio of 4,142 retail, restaurant, office and industrial real estate properties with an aggregate of 93.3 million square feet, which are located in 49 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.

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