Stock Traders Purchase Large Volume of Put Options on Enerplus (NYSE:ERF)

Enerplus Corp (NYSE:ERF) (TSE:ERF) was the target of unusually large options trading activity on Monday. Stock investors bought 733 put options on the company. This is an increase of 762% compared to the typical volume of 85 put options.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ERF. Renaissance Technologies LLC bought a new stake in shares of Enerplus in the 1st quarter worth about $532,000. US Bancorp DE lifted its holdings in shares of Enerplus by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 38,170 shares of the oil and natural gas company’s stock worth $310,000 after acquiring an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can lifted its holdings in shares of Enerplus by 182.0% in the 2nd quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 308,600 shares of the oil and natural gas company’s stock worth $2,497,000 after acquiring an additional 199,150 shares during the last quarter. Boston Partners lifted its holdings in shares of Enerplus by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Boston Partners now owns 406,435 shares of the oil and natural gas company’s stock worth $3,300,000 after acquiring an additional 1,727 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank lifted its holdings in shares of Enerplus by 15.1% in the 2nd quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 21,982 shares of the oil and natural gas company’s stock worth $178,000 after acquiring an additional 2,890 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 49.72% of the company’s stock.

Enerplus (NYSE:ERF) traded up $0.27 during trading on Friday, hitting $10.88. 1,249,322 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,418,844. The company has a market cap of $2,620.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 3.30 and a beta of 1.35. The company has a quick ratio of 2.04, a current ratio of 2.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41. Enerplus has a 12-month low of $6.52 and a 12-month high of $10.96.

The company also recently announced a monthly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 29th will be issued a $0.008 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 28th. This represents a $0.10 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.88%. Enerplus’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 2.73%.

ERF has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Scotiabank reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $16.00 price objective on shares of Enerplus in a research note on Tuesday, October 10th. ValuEngine raised shares of Enerplus from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Enerplus from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $11.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, November 13th. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $16.00 price objective on shares of Enerplus in a research note on Thursday, November 9th. Finally, CIBC initiated coverage on shares of Enerplus in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. They issued a “sector outperform” rating for the company. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the stock. Enerplus presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $14.20.

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About Enerplus

Enerplus Corporation is an oil and natural gas company. The Company’s oil and natural gas property interests are located in the United States, primarily in North Dakota, Montana, and Pennsylvania, as well as in western Canada in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. The Company’s oil and natural gas property interests contains proved plus probable gross reserves of approximately 14.3 million barrels (MMbbls) of light and medium crude oil, 39.0 MMbbls of heavy crude oil, 123 MMbbls of tight oil, 18.1 MMbbls of natural gas liquids (NGLs), 126.3 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of conventional natural gas and 1,002.8 Bcf of shale gas, for a total of approximately 382.5 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE).

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