Stock traders buy large volume of Barclays call options (NYSE:BCS)

Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) was the target of unusually heavy options trading activity on Tuesday. Traders bought 10,062 call options on the stock. This represents a 448% increase from the average daily volume of 1,837 call options.

Institutional investors weigh in on Barclays

Hedge funds have recently changed their positions in the stock. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its holdings of Barclays shares by 0.9% in the first quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 15,738,310 shares of the financial services provider worth $124,333,000 after buying an additional 146,541 shares in the last quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC increased its holdings of Barclays shares by 5.1% in the first quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 8,520,967 shares of the financial services provider worth $67,315,000 after purchasing an additional 412,160 shares last quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its stake in Barclays shares by 31.3% during the second quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 5,687,062 shares of the financial services provider worth $43,222,000 after buying an additional 1,356,948 shares last quarter. Raymond James & Associates increased its stake in Barclays shares by 35.6% in the first quarter. Raymond James & Associates now owns 4,218,852 shares of the financial services provider worth $33,329,000 after buying an additional 1,106,572 shares last quarter. Finally, Natixis Advisors LP increased its stake in Barclays shares by 231.7% during the second quarter. Natixis Advisors LP now owns 4,068,957 shares of the financial services provider worth $30,924,000 after buying an additional 2,842,349 shares last quarter. Institutional investors hold 3.47% of the company’s shares.

Performance of Barclays shares

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BCS stock traded down $0.09 in midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $8.16. 159,525 shares of shares traded in hands, compared to its average volume of 5,402,870. The company has a quick ratio of 1.39, a current ratio of 1.40 and a leverage ratio of 5.42. Barclays has a 52-week low of $6.88 and a 52-week high of $12.20. The company has a 50-day moving average of $7.79 and a 200-day moving average of $8.02. The company has a market capitalization of $34.11 billion, a PE ratio of 5.39, a P/E/G ratio of 0.16 and a beta of 1.29.

Barclays cuts its dividends

The company also recently announced a semi-annual dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 16. Investors of record on Friday August 12 will receive a dividend of $0.2094. This represents a dividend yield of 4%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 11. Barclays’ payout ratio is currently 13.07%.

Analysts set new price targets

Several research companies have recently published reports on BCS. Credit Suisse Group cut its price target on Barclays shares from GBX 245 ($2.96) to GBX 240 ($2.90) and set an ‘outperform’ rating for the company in a research note Monday, August 1. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upgraded Barclays shares from a “market performer” rating to an “outperformer” rating in a Thursday, May 19 report. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft raised its price target on Barclays shares from 210 GBX ($2.54) to 230 GBX ($2.78) and gave the stock a “holding” rating in a report by the Monday, August 1. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its price target on Barclays shares from 190 GBX ($2.30) to 200 GBX ($2.42) in a Wednesday, September 7 report. Finally, StockNews.com upgraded Barclays shares from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a Friday, September 2 report. Eight analysts gave the stock a hold rating and six gave the company a buy rating. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, Barclays currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $230.00.

About Barclays

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Barclays PLC, through its subsidiaries, provides various financial products and services in the UK, Europe, America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The company operates through the Barclays UK and Barclays International divisions. It offers financial services, such as retail banking, credit cards, wholesale banking, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services.

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