United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Saturday morning.

According to Zacks, “Estimates of United Natural declined after it posted mixed second-quarter fiscal 2017 results, where earnings came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate but revenues lagged the same. The company also slashed its fiscal 2017 view. In fact, the company’s shares have underperformed than the Zacks categorized industry since past three months. Nevertheless, both earnings and revenues increased year over year. We believe the company’s acquisition strategies, efforts to increase its market share and improve operational efficiency are the reasons for its growth. Gross margin also improved backed by margin improvement initiatives. However, we note that promotional activities and competitive pricing pressure remained the major headwinds in the first half of fiscal 2017. Further, the company has been grappling with ongoing industry challenges, including heightened competition and little to no meaningful improvement in inflation.”

Several other research firms also recently commented on UNFI. Northcoast Research reaffirmed a neutral rating on shares of United Natural Foods in a report on Monday, November 28th. Guggenheim restated a buy rating and set a $52.00 price objective (up previously from $47.00) on shares of United Natural Foods in a research report on Friday, December 9th. BMO Capital Markets set a $45.00 price objective on shares of United Natural Foods and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Friday, December 9th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc began coverage on shares of United Natural Foods in a research report on Tuesday, January 31st. They set a neutral rating and a $49.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a sector perform rating and issued a $34.00 target price on shares of United Natural Foods in a research report on Tuesday, December 13th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $42.26.

United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) traded down 0.48% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $41.52. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 313,799 shares. United Natural Foods has a 52-week low of $33.16 and a 52-week high of $52.18. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $42.72 and a 200-day moving average of $44.69. The firm has a market cap of $2.10 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.42 and a beta of 1.24.

United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, March 8th. The company reported $0.50 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.50. United Natural Foods had a net margin of 1.44% and a return on equity of 8.48%. The firm earned $2.29 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.33 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.49 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 11.6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts expect that United Natural Foods will post $2.54 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in UNFI. Tyers Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in United Natural Foods during the fourth quarter worth $100,000. Flinton Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in United Natural Foods during the fourth quarter worth $127,000. Integrated Investment Consultants LLC boosted its stake in United Natural Foods by 11.6% in the third quarter. Integrated Investment Consultants LLC now owns 3,077 shares of the company’s stock worth $130,000 after buying an additional 321 shares in the last quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC boosted its stake in United Natural Foods by 5.6% in the third quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC now owns 3,235 shares of the company’s stock worth $130,000 after buying an additional 173 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Advisor Group Inc. boosted its stake in United Natural Foods by 9.9% in the third quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 3,527 shares of the company’s stock worth $141,000 after buying an additional 318 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 99.29% of the company’s stock.

United Natural Foods Company Profile

United Natural Foods, Inc is a distributor and retailer of natural, organic and specialty products. The Company’s segments include Wholesale and Other. The Wholesale segment is engaged in the national distribution of natural, organic and specialty foods, produce and related products in the United States and Canada.

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