Washington Prime Group Inc (WPG) Sees Large Increase in Short Interest

Washington Prime Group Inc (NYSE:WPG) was the target of a large growth in short interest in May. As of May 31st, there was short interest totalling 20,082,890 shares, a growth of 50.4% from the May 15th total of 13,354,494 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 3,606,505 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 5.6 days. Approximately 10.9% of the company’s shares are short sold.

Shares of Washington Prime Group (NYSE:WPG) opened at 8.14 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $8.09 and a 200 day moving average of $9.11. The stock has a market cap of $1.51 billion, a PE ratio of 28.07 and a beta of 0.93. Washington Prime Group has a 12 month low of $7.31 and a 12 month high of $14.15.

Washington Prime Group (NYSE:WPG) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 26th. The real estate investment trust reported $0.42 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.40 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $202.39 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $198.72 million. Washington Prime Group had a net margin of 7.23% and a return on equity of 4.27%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 3.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.42 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Washington Prime Group will post $1.05 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, June 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, June 1st were issued a $0.25 dividend. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 12.29%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, May 30th. Washington Prime Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 500.00%.

In related news, CEO Louis G. Conforti bought 28,700 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 31st. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $8.68 per share, for a total transaction of $249,116.00. Following the purchase, the chief executive officer now directly owns 28,700 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $249,116. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Robert P. Demchak bought 6,140 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 27th. The stock was bought at an average price of $8.15 per share, for a total transaction of $50,041.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the executive vice president now directly owns 7,205 shares in the company, valued at $58,720.75. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders acquired a total of 53,084 shares of company stock worth $449,180 over the last 90 days. Insiders own 0.28% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of Washington Prime Group by 6,927.1% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 24,434,249 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $212,335,000 after buying an additional 24,086,536 shares during the period. Forward Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Washington Prime Group during the first quarter worth $24,867,000. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of Washington Prime Group during the fourth quarter worth $19,388,000. KRV Capital LP boosted its position in shares of Washington Prime Group by 506.7% in the first quarter. KRV Capital LP now owns 1,820,159 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $15,817,000 after buying an additional 1,520,159 shares during the period. Finally, ClariVest Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Washington Prime Group during the first quarter worth $11,274,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 89.84% of the company’s stock.

A number of brokerages have commented on WPG. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Washington Prime Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $9.25 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, May 10th. ValuEngine cut shares of Washington Prime Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 6th.

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About Washington Prime Group

Washington Prime Group Inc (WPG Inc), formerly WP Glimcher Inc, operates as a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company’s primary business is the ownership, development and management of retail real estate within the United States. The Company owns, develops and manages enclosed retail properties and community centers.

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