First Defiance Financial (NASDAQ:FDEF) Short Interest Up 19.6% in October

First Defiance Financial (NASDAQ:FDEF) was the target of a significant increase in short interest during the month of October. As of October 31st, there was short interest totalling 412,700 shares, an increase of 19.6% from the September 30th total of 345,100 shares. Currently, 2.2% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 71,700 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 5.8 days.

A number of equities analysts have recently commented on the stock. Sandler O’Neill raised shares of First Defiance Financial from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 11th. BidaskClub lowered shares of First Defiance Financial from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Saturday. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised shares of First Defiance Financial from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $36.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, October 29th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $34.50.

FDEF stock traded down $0.02 during trading on Friday, hitting $30.55. 46,300 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 79,380. The firm has a market capitalization of $606.83 million, a P/E ratio of 13.70 and a beta of 0.98. The business has a fifty day simple moving average of $29.76 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $28.39. First Defiance Financial has a 1 year low of $22.78 and a 1 year high of $31.83. The company has a quick ratio of 1.00, a current ratio of 1.01 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.29.

First Defiance Financial (NASDAQ:FDEF) last posted its earnings results on Monday, October 21st. The savings and loans company reported $0.68 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.60 by $0.08. The company had revenue of $40.73 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $40.15 million. First Defiance Financial had a net margin of 27.21% and a return on equity of 12.03%. On average, equities research analysts predict that First Defiance Financial will post 2.45 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 22nd. Investors of record on Friday, November 15th will be given a dividend of $0.22 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 14th. This is an increase from First Defiance Financial’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.19. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.88%. First Defiance Financial’s payout ratio is currently 34.08%.

In other First Defiance Financial news, EVP Timothy K. Harris sold 2,831 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.51, for a total value of $89,204.81. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 2.36% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. First Trust Advisors LP increased its holdings in First Defiance Financial by 12.8% in the third quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 56,225 shares of the savings and loans company’s stock valued at $1,629,000 after buying an additional 6,401 shares in the last quarter. Huntington National Bank increased its holdings in First Defiance Financial by 13,221.4% in the third quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 26,776 shares of the savings and loans company’s stock valued at $776,000 after buying an additional 26,575 shares in the last quarter. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC increased its holdings in First Defiance Financial by 6.3% in the third quarter. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC now owns 63,585 shares of the savings and loans company’s stock valued at $1,842,000 after buying an additional 3,758 shares in the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. increased its holdings in First Defiance Financial by 36.5% in the third quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 25,303 shares of the savings and loans company’s stock valued at $733,000 after buying an additional 6,764 shares in the last quarter. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System increased its holdings in First Defiance Financial by 45.2% in the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 43,832 shares of the savings and loans company’s stock valued at $1,270,000 after buying an additional 13,642 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 64.23% of the company’s stock.

First Defiance Financial Company Profile

First Defiance Financial Corp. operates as a unitary thrift holding company that provides community-based financial services in northwest Ohio, northeast Indiana, and southeastern Michigan. It offers checking accounts, money market accounts, savings accounts, term certificate accounts, demand deposits, and certificates of deposits, as well as certificate of deposit account registry service; and commercial real estate, commercial, consumer finance, 1-4 family residential real estate, construction, and home equity and improvement loans.

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