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Ameren Co. (NYSE:AEE) Short Interest Up 17.8% in September

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Ameren Co. (NYSE:AEE – Get Rating) saw a significant increase in short interest in the month of September. As of September 15th, there was short interest totalling 5,150,000 shares, an increase of 17.8% from the August 31st total of 4,370,000 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 1,290,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 4.0 days.

Insiders Place Their Bets

In other Ameren news, Director Rafael Flores sold 1,600 shares of Ameren stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.07, for a total transaction of $153,712.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 14,178 shares of the company's stock, valued at $1,362,080.46. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. In other news, Chairman Warner L. Baxter sold 54,000 shares of the company's stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $93.19, for a total value of $5,032,260.00. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 267,893 shares in the company, valued at $24,964,948.67. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Rafael Flores sold 1,600 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.07, for a total value of $153,712.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 14,178 shares in the company, valued at $1,362,080.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.52% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

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Institutional Investors Weigh In On Ameren

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Ameren by 2.3% during the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 29,978,760 shares of the utilities provider's stock valued at $2,810,808,000 after buying an additional 681,658 shares during the last quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD lifted its holdings in Ameren by 1.9% during the second quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 21,076,973 shares of the utilities provider's stock valued at $1,904,516,000 after purchasing an additional 394,677 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Ameren by 3.9% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 20,753,782 shares of the utilities provider's stock worth $1,847,293,000 after acquiring an additional 786,490 shares during the period. State Street Corp grew its stake in Ameren by 1.4% during the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 14,088,220 shares of the utilities provider's stock valued at $1,273,012,000 after acquiring an additional 198,226 shares in the last quarter. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its stake in Ameren by 72.3% in the 2nd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 8,018,951 shares of the utilities provider's stock worth $724,594,000 after acquiring an additional 3,363,979 shares during the last quarter. 77.98% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades

AEE has been the topic of several research analyst reports. Barclays reduced their price objective on Ameren from $99.00 to $91.00 and set an "equal weight" rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 18th. Morgan Stanley decreased their price target on shares of Ameren from $101.00 to $99.00 and set an "overweight" rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, September 22nd. Mizuho lifted their target price on shares of Ameren from $92.00 to $98.00 and gave the stock a "neutral" rating in a research report on Monday, September 12th. UBS Group cut Ameren from a "buy" rating to a "neutral" rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $94.00 to $96.00 in a research report on Thursday, June 30th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets upped their price target on Ameren from $98.00 to $103.00 and gave the stock an "outperform" rating in a research note on Friday, September 9th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. According to data from MarketBeat.com, the stock presently has a consensus rating of "Moderate Buy" and an average price target of $99.13.

Ameren Stock Performance

Shares of NYSE AEE traded up $2.32 during mid-day trading on Monday, reaching $82.87. 61,155 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,350,249. The stock has a market capitalization of $21.41 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.26, a P/E/G ratio of 2.74 and a beta of 0.43. The company has a quick ratio of 0.50, a current ratio of 0.67 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.30. Ameren has a twelve month low of $80.27 and a twelve month high of $99.20. The company's 50-day simple moving average is $92.42 and its 200-day simple moving average is $91.80.

Ameren (NYSE:AEE – Get Rating) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 4th. The utilities provider reported $0.80 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts' consensus estimates of $0.81 by ($0.01). The firm had revenue of $1.73 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.52 billion. Ameren had a return on equity of 10.19% and a net margin of 14.49%. The business's revenue was up 17.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.80 EPS. As a group, research analysts predict that Ameren will post 4.09 earnings per share for the current year.

Ameren Announces Dividend

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 30th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, September 7th were given a dividend of $0.59 per share. This represents a $2.36 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.85%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 6th. Ameren's dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 60.51%.

About Ameren

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Ameren Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public utility holding company in the United States. It operates through four segments: Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution, Ameren Illinois Natural Gas, and Ameren Transmission. The company engages in the rate-regulated electric generation, transmission, and distribution activities; and rate-regulated natural gas distribution and transmission businesses.

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