Stock traders buy high volume of US steel put options (NYSE:X)

United States Steel Co. (NYSE:X – Get Rating) was the target of unusual options trading activity on Friday. Stock traders bought 95,913 put options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 99% from the average volume of 48,284 puts.

U.S. steel trade drops 5.7%

NYSE X traded at $1.12 during Friday trading, rising to $18.56. 381,835 shares of the stock have been traded, compared to its average volume of 12,951,290. The company has a market capitalization of $4.40 billion, a price-earnings ratio of 1.08 and a beta of 2 ,15. United States Steel has a fifty-two week low of $16.41 and a fifty-two week high of $39.25. The company has a quick ratio of 1.32, a current ratio of 1.98 and a debt ratio of 0.38. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $22.43 and its 200-day moving average price is $25.92.

United States Steel (NYSE:X – Get Rating) last released its quarterly results on Thursday, July 28. The basic materials company reported earnings per share of $3.86 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $3.85 by $0.01. The company posted revenue of $6.29 billion in the quarter, versus $5.82 billion expected by analysts. United States Steel had a net margin of 21.59% and a return on equity of 49.21%. The company’s quarterly revenue increased by 25.2% compared to the same quarter last year. In the same quarter a year earlier, the company had earned earnings per share of $3.37. Analysts predict that United States Steel will post an EPS of 9.87 for the current year.

United States Steel announced that its board of directors launched a stock repurchase program on Thursday, July 28 that allows the company to repurchase $500.00 million of outstanding stock. This repurchase authorization allows the basic materials company to repurchase up to 8.8% of its shares through purchases on the open market. Stock buyback programs are usually a sign that a company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

U.S. Steel Dividend Announcement

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 8. Shareholders of record on Monday August 8 received a dividend of $0.05. This represents a dividend of $0.20 on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.08%. The ex-dividend date was Friday August 5th. United States Steel’s dividend payout ratio is currently 1.17%.

Analysts set new price targets

A number of research analysts have recently released reports on the stock. Morgan Stanley raised its price target on United States Steel shares from $20.00 to $21.50 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a Monday, Aug. 1 research note. Credit Suisse Group lowered its price target on United States Steel shares from $44.00 to $37.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a Friday, September 16 research note. Goldman Sachs Group cut its price target on United States Steel shares from $36.00 to $22.00 and placed a “sell” rating on the stock in a Tuesday, May 31 research report. Citigroup raised its price target on United States Steel shares to $27.00 in a Tuesday, September 13 research report. Finally, UBS Group set a price target of $23.00 on United States Steel shares in a Monday, June 20 research report. Three equity research analysts gave the stock a sell rating, three gave the stock a hold rating and two gave the stock a buy rating. Based on data from MarketBeat, the company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $25.61.

United States Institutional Steel Trade

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently increased or reduced their stake in the company. Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in United States Steel shares by 118.7% in the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 166,107 shares of the basic materials company valued at $3,862,000 after purchasing an additional 90,168 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its stake in United States Steel shares by 10.6% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 4,441,360 shares of the basic materials company valued at $106,304,000 after acquiring 424,496 additional shares last quarter. Blair William & Co. IL increased its stake in United States Steel shares by 7.2% in the fourth quarter. Blair William & Co. IL now owns 54,916 shares of the basic materials company valued at $1,308,000 after acquiring 3,706 additional shares last quarter. Quinn Opportunity Partners LLC acquired a new position in United States Steel stock in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $10,349,000. Finally, Journey Strategic Wealth LLC acquired a new position in United States Steel stock in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $260,000. 79.08% of the shares are held by institutional investors.

About United States Steel

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United States Steel Corporation produces and sells flat-rolled and tubular steel products primarily in North America and Europe. It operates through four segments: North American Flat-Rolled (Flat-Rolled), Mini Mill, US Steel Europe (USSE) and Tubular Products (Tubular). The Flat Rolled Products segment offers slabs, strip rolling plates, sheets and tinned products, as well as iron ore and coke.

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