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Mueller Water Products, Inc. (NYSE:MWA) sees sharp rise in short-term interest

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Mueller Water Products, Inc. (NYSE: MWA – Get Rating) was the target of significant short-term interest growth in December. As of December 15, there was short interest totaling 2,460,000 shares, a growth of 13.4% from the total of 2,170,000 shares as of November 30. Based on an average trading volume of 974,500 shares, the day-to-cover ratio is currently 2.5 days. Currently, 1.6% of the stock’s shares are sold short.

Analyst upgrades and downgrades

A number of research companies have recently commented on MWA. Cowen cut his price target on Mueller Water Products to $11.00 in a Friday, September 30 report. TheStreet downgraded Mueller Water Products from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a Monday, October 10 report. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft cut its price target on Mueller water products from $12.00 to $10.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a Thursday, October 20 report. Northcoast Research upgraded Mueller Water Products from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a Monday, November 21 report. Finally, StockNews.com began covering Mueller water products in a research note on Wednesday, October 12. They issued a “hold” rating for the company.

Stock of Mueller water products down 0.8%

MWA shares were down $0.09 during Monday trading hours, hitting $10.76. The company had a trading volume of 46,450 shares, compared to an average volume of 994,673. The company has a leverage ratio of 0.67, a quick ratio of 1.67 and a current ratio of 2.82. Mueller Water Products has a 12-month low of $9.90 and a 12-month high of $14.60. The company has a market capitalization of $1.68 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.96, a price-to-earnings growth ratio of 1.41 and a beta of 1.26. The stock’s fifty-day simple moving average is $11.31 and its 200-day simple moving average is $11.41.

Mueller Water Products (NYSE:MWA – Get Rating) last released its results on Monday, November 7. The industrial products company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.10 for the quarter, missing analyst consensus estimates of $0.14 per ($0.04). Mueller Water Products achieved a net margin of 6.14% and a return on equity of 13.19%. The company posted revenue of $331.40 million in the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $319.74 million. As a group, sell-side analysts expect Mueller Water Products to post earnings per share of 0.64 for the current fiscal year.

Mueller Water Products increases its dividend

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, November 21. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 10 received a dividend of $0.061 per share. This represents a dividend of $0.24 on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.27%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, November 9. This is a positive change from Mueller Water Products’ previous quarterly dividend of $0.06. Mueller Water Products’ dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 48.98%.

Insider activity

Separately, director Michael T. Tokarz sold 4,189 shares in a trade dated Tuesday, December 6. The stock was sold at an average price of $11.34, for a total transaction of $47,503.26. Following the transaction, the administrator now directly owns 376,499 shares of the company, valued at $4,269,498.66. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, accessible via this link. Separately, director Michael T. Tokarz sold 4,189 shares in a trade dated Tuesday, December 6. The stock was sold at an average price of $11.34, for a total transaction of $47,503.26. Following the transaction, the administrator now directly owns 376,499 shares of the company, valued at $4,269,498.66. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, accessible via this link. Additionally, director Lydia W. Thomas sold 12,578 shares in a trade dated Friday, Dec. 2. The stock was sold at an average price of $11.73, for a total value of $147,539.94. Following the transaction, the administrator now owns 115,618 shares of the company, valued at $1,356,199.14. The disclosure of this sale can be found here. Insiders of the company own 1.70% of the shares of the company.

Institutional investors weigh in on Mueller Water products

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. MQS Management LLC acquired a new stake in Mueller Water Products during Q3 valued at approximately $242,000. Jane Street Group LLC increased its stake in Mueller Water Products by 36.4% during the third quarter. Jane Street Group LLC now owns 63,572 shares of the industrial products company valued at $653,000 after purchasing an additional 16,959 shares last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SNC increased its stake in Mueller Water Products by 31.6% in the third quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SNC now owns 71,103 shares of the industrial products company valued at $730,000 after buying an additional 17,063 shares last quarter. Trexquant Investment LP acquired a new stake in Mueller Water Products during Q3 valued at approximately $619,000. Finally, Marshall Wace LLP acquired a new stake in Mueller Water Products during Q3 valued at approximately $778,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds hold 88.75% of the company’s shares.

Mueller Water Products Company Profile

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Mueller Water Products, Inc. manufactures and markets products and services for the transmission, distribution and metering of water used by municipalities and residential and non-residential construction industries in the United States, Israel and worldwide . The Company operates in two segments, Water Flow Solutions and Water Management Solutions.

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