Stock traders are buying a high volume of put options on Toro (NYSE: TTC)

The Toro Company (NYSE:TTC – Get Rating) saw unusually large options trades on Wednesday. Stock traders bought 1,176 put options on the stock. This is a 1,709% increase over the average volume of 65 put options.

Wall Street analysts predict growth

Several brokerages have recently weighed in on TTC. StockNews.com upgraded Toro from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a Friday, September 30 research report. Northcoast Research upgraded Toro from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a Tuesday, September 6 research report.

Toro trades up 1.4%

NYSE TTC opened at $93.26 on Thursday. The company has a 50-day simple moving average of $87.48 and a 200-day simple moving average of $83.58. Toro has a 1-year low of $71.86 and a 1-year high of $106.31. The stock has a market capitalization of $9.72 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.55 and a beta of 0.69. The company has a debt ratio of 0.77, a current ratio of 1.59 and a quick ratio of 0.66.

Toro (NYSE:TTC – Get Rating) last released its results on Thursday, September 1. The company reported EPS of $1.19 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.13 by $0.06. Toro had a return on equity of 32.35% and a net margin of 8.97%. The company posted revenue of $1.16 billion in the quarter, versus $1.17 billion expected by analysts. In the same quarter last year, the firm posted earnings per share of $0.92. The company’s revenue increased 18.9% year over year. Research analysts expect Toro to post earnings per share of 4.2 for the current year.

Toro Dividend Announcement

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 18. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 5 will receive a dividend of $0.30. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 4. This represents a dividend of $1.20 on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.29%. Toro’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 32.88%.

Insider Trading at Toro

Separately, Vice Chairman Kurt D. Svendsen sold 4,000 shares in a trade on Friday, September 30. The stock was sold at an average price of $87.34, for a total transaction of $349,360.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 10,575 shares of the company, valued at approximately $923,620.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, accessible via the SEC’s website. In related news, Vice President Amy E. Dahl sold 2,600 shares of the company in a trade on Friday, September 9. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.81, for a total transaction of $233,506.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 18,706 shares of the company, valued at approximately $1,679,985.86. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available via this link. Additionally, Vice Chairman Kurt D. Svendsen sold 4,000 shares of the company in a trade on Friday, September 30. The stock was sold at an average price of $87.34, for a total value of $349,360.00. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 10,575 shares of the company, valued at $923,620.50. The disclosure of this sale can be found here. In the past three months, insiders have sold 22,371 shares of the company valued at $2,014,232. 2.10% of the shares are held by insiders.

Institutional investors weigh in on Toro

A number of hedge funds have recently increased or reduced their stakes in the company. Coston McIsaac & Partners acquired a new stake in Toro in the second quarter worth approximately $26,000. Amundi increased its stake in Toro by 19.0% in the second quarter. Amundi now owns 308,824 shares of the company valued at $23,414,000 after acquiring an additional 49,199 shares during the period. Verition Fund Management LLC increased its stake in Toro by 6.5% in the second quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC now owns 12,648 shares of the company valued at $959,000 after acquiring an additional 773 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc increased its stake in Toro by 0.6% in the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 216,494 shares in the company valued at $16,408,000 after acquiring an additional 1,326 shares during the period. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its stake in Toro shares by 1.2% in the second quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 533,232 shares of the company valued at $40,413,000 after buying an additional 6,552 shares last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds hold 85.24% of the company’s shares.

Toro Company Profile

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The Toro Company engages in the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of professional and residential equipment worldwide. The Company’s Professional segment offers turf and landscaping equipment products, including sports field and field mowing and maintenance equipment, golf course mowing and maintenance equipment , mowing equipment for landscape contractors, equipment for creating and renovating landscapes and other maintenance equipment; rental, specialist and underground construction equipment; and snow and ice management equipment, such as snow plows, brushes, snow blowers, salt and sand spreaders, and related parts and accessories for light and medium trucks, utility vehicles , skid steer loaders and front loaders.

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