Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) Short Interest Up 29.4% in August

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) was the target of a large growth in short interest in August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 18,591,772 shares, a growth of 29.4% from the August 15th total of 14,371,494 shares. Approximately 2.0% of the shares of the company are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 4,454,337 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 4.2 days.

A number of research analysts have issued reports on WBA shares. Jefferies Group LLC cut their price target on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from $95.00 to $80.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, May 31st. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 14th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Saturday, June 24th. Needham & Company LLC started coverage on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research note on Tuesday, June 27th. They set a “hold” rating on the stock. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $77.00 price objective (down from $89.00) on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a report on Wednesday, June 28th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $91.81.

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) opened at 82.60 on Tuesday. The company’s 50-day moving average is $81.35 and its 200-day moving average is $81.89. The stock has a market capitalization of $88.39 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.86 and a beta of 1.26. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a one year low of $75.18 and a one year high of $89.69.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, June 29th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.33 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.03. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a net margin of 3.69% and a return on equity of 17.34%. The firm had revenue of $30.12 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $29.72 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.18 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post $5.00 earnings per share for the current year.

Walgreens Boots Alliance declared that its board has approved a share buyback plan on Thursday, June 29th that authorizes the company to buyback $5.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the pharmacy operator to reacquire up to 5.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 12th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 18th were paid a dividend of $0.40 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 16th. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.94%. This is an increase from Walgreens Boots Alliance’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s dividend payout ratio is currently 40.30%.

In other Walgreens Boots Alliance news, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.79, for a total transaction of $218,305.44. Following the transaction, the director now owns 19,151 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,528,058.29. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 13.50% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of WBA. Waldron LP increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 67.7% during the 1st quarter. Waldron LP now owns 4,500 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $373,000 after acquiring an additional 1,816 shares during the last quarter. UMB Bank N A MO increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 8.8% during the 1st quarter. UMB Bank N A MO now owns 14,216 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $1,181,000 after acquiring an additional 1,150 shares during the last quarter. IFC Holdings Incorporated FL increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 4.4% during the 1st quarter. IFC Holdings Incorporated FL now owns 5,722 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $476,000 after acquiring an additional 242 shares during the last quarter. Korea Investment CORP increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 45.0% during the 1st quarter. Korea Investment CORP now owns 712,680 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $59,188,000 after acquiring an additional 221,244 shares during the last quarter. Finally, ProShare Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 4.4% during the 1st quarter. ProShare Advisors LLC now owns 1,016,737 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $84,440,000 after acquiring an additional 42,969 shares during the last quarter. 60.16% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).

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