Short-term stake in Washington Federal, Inc. (NASDAQ:WAFD) drops 31.9%

Washington Federal, Inc. (NASDAQ: WAFD – Get a rating) was the target of a sharp decline in short-term interest in February. As of February 28, there was short interest totaling 2,090,000 shares, down 31.9% from February 13’s total of 3,070,000 shares. Approximately 3.3% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 502,000 shares, the day-to-cover ratio is currently 4.2 days.

A number of analysts have recently commented on WAFD shares. DA Davidson raised its price target on Washington Federal from $39.00 to $41.00 in a research note on Tuesday, January 18. StockNews.com downgraded Washington Federal from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, February 5. Piper Sandler raised her price target on Washington Federal from $34.00 to $37.00 in a Tuesday, January 18 report. Ultimately, Zacks Investment Research cut Washington Federal from a “strong buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a target price of $34.00 for the stock. in a research report on Tuesday, December 21.

The NASDAQ WAFD opened at $34.74 on Monday. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $35.38 and its 200-day moving average price is $34.56. Washington Federal has a fifty-two week low of $29.01 and a fifty-two week high of $38.06. The company has a debt ratio of 0.93, a quick ratio of 1.03 and a current ratio of 1.03. The company has a market capitalization of $2.27 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.36 and a beta of 0.78.

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Washington Federal (NASDAQ:WAFD – Get a rating) last reported results on Wednesday, January 12. The bank reported earnings per share of $0.71 for the quarter, beating Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.02. The company posted revenue of $152.82 million in the quarter, compared to $147.95 million expected by analysts. Washington Federal had a return on equity of 10.21% and a net margin of 29.56%. During the same period of the previous year, the company achieved EPS of $0.51. As a group, stock analysts predict that Washington Federal will post EPS of 2.91 for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, February 18. Investors of record on Friday, February 4 received a dividend of $0.24 per share. This is a positive change from Washington Federal’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.23. This represents an annualized dividend of $0.96 and a yield of 2.76%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, February 3. Washington Federal’s dividend payout ratio is currently 36.92%.

Separately, CFO Vincent L. Beatty sold 16,000 shares of the company in a transaction that took place on Thursday, February 10. The shares were sold at an average price of $35.74, for a total value of $571,840.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available via the SEC website. Additionally, director Thomas J. Kelley sold 17,000 shares of the company in a trade that took place on Wednesday, January 19. The stock was sold at an average price of $37.11, for a total transaction of $630,870.00. Disclosure of this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.22% of the shares of the company.

Hedge funds have recently changed their positions in the business. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. increased its position in Washington Federal by 4.0% during the fourth quarter. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,890,497 shares of the bank worth $63,105,000 after purchasing an additional 72,074 shares last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its position in Washington Federal stocks by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,242,790 shares of the bank valued at $41,484,000 after acquiring 21,146 additional shares last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new position in Washington Federal shares in the fourth quarter, valued at around $39,643,000. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership increased its holdings of Washington Federal shares by 17.0% in the third quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 1,120,360 shares of the bank valued at $38,440,000 after purchasing an additional 162,416 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased its holdings of Washington Federal shares by 143.3% in the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 746,529 shares of the bank valued at $25,614,000 after buying an additional 439,663 shares in the last quarter. 80.09% of the shares are currently held by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Washington Federal Business Profile (Get a rating)

Washington Federal, Inc is a bank holding company that provides loans, deposits, insurance, banking products, financial products and services. The Company operates through the following segments: commercial loans and consumer loans. The commercial lending segment is divided into five categories: multi-family, commercial real estate, commercial and industrial, construction and land acquisition and development.

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