Western Asset Mortgage Capital (WMC) Rating Increased to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Western Asset Mortgage Capital (NYSE:WMC) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Saturday morning.

According to Zacks, “Western Asset Mortgage Capital Corporation is focused on investing in, financing and managing primarily residential mortgage-backed securities for which the principal and interest payments are guaranteed by a U.S. Government agency or federally chartered corporation. Western Asset Mortgage Capital Corporation is headquartered in Pasadena, California. “

Western Asset Mortgage Capital (NYSE:WMC) opened at $9.85 on Friday. Western Asset Mortgage Capital has a 1-year low of $9.43 and a 1-year high of $10.95. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 7.34, a current ratio of 128.12 and a quick ratio of 128.12. The company has a market cap of $412.91, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.42 and a beta of 0.71.

Western Asset Mortgage Capital (NYSE:WMC) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, November 7th. The financial services provider reported $0.32 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.34 by ($0.02). Western Asset Mortgage Capital had a return on equity of 1.81% and a net margin of 18.57%. The company had revenue of $18.57 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $17.10 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.35 EPS. Western Asset Mortgage Capital’s quarterly revenue was down 5.5% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts expect that Western Asset Mortgage Capital will post 1.18 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Western Asset Mortgage Capital declared that its board has approved a stock repurchase program on Thursday, December 21st that authorizes the company to repurchase 2,100,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the financial services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 26th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, January 2nd will be issued a $0.31 dividend. This represents a $1.24 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 12.59%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 29th. Western Asset Mortgage Capital’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 206.67%.

In related news, insider Jennifer Murphy bought 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, December 27th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $10.22 per share, with a total value of $102,200.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the insider now owns 47,500 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $485,450. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. 0.36% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WMC. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Western Asset Mortgage Capital by 15.3% in the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 354,508 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,652,000 after buying an additional 46,923 shares in the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA lifted its holdings in shares of Western Asset Mortgage Capital by 73.4% in the second quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 11,307 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $116,000 after buying an additional 4,786 shares in the last quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. raised its stake in Western Asset Mortgage Capital by 127.7% during the second quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 566,775 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $5,838,000 after purchasing an additional 317,900 shares in the last quarter. Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. purchased a new stake in Western Asset Mortgage Capital during the second quarter valued at $150,000. Finally, LSV Asset Management raised its stake in Western Asset Mortgage Capital by 10.8% during the second quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 208,400 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $2,146,000 after purchasing an additional 20,375 shares in the last quarter. 43.03% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Western Asset Mortgage Capital

Western Asset Mortgage Capital Corporation is a real estate investment trust. The Company is focused on investing in, financing and managing a diversified portfolio of real estate-related securities, whole-loans and other financial assets. The Company’s portfolio includes Agency residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), including Mortgage pass-through certificates, Agency derivatives, Agency Interest-Only Strips and Agency collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs); Non-Agency RMBS, and Agency commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), Non-Agency CMBS, Non United States CMBS and asset-backed securities (ABS), as well as Residential and Commercial Whole-Loans.

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