Dean Foods Company (DF) Lifted to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Dean Foods Company (NYSE:DF) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Dean Foods’ shares underperformed the industry in the last three months. While Dean Foods’ in-line earnings in third-quarter 2017 reflects an improvement from the negative earnings trend in preceding three quarters, sales lagged estimates for the second straight quarter. Results were hurt by soft volumes, higher raw milk costs, and loss of share in U.S. fluid milk volumes. Moreover, lost sales volumes and incremental costs related to the recent hurricanes in both Texas and Florida were hindrances. However, the company anticipates to gain from smart volume initiative through the rest of 2017, aimed at improving top line, building margins and creating operating efficiencies. Further, the company’s initiatives to strengthen brands and diversify portfolio bode well. It also remains on track with its comprehensive productivity program, including OpEx 2020, and company-wide initiatives to drive efficiencies.”

A number of other brokerages have also issued reports on DF. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an underweight rating and set a $15.00 target price (down previously from $18.00) on shares of Dean Foods in a research report on Tuesday, July 18th. Sanford C. Bernstein lowered shares of Dean Foods from a market perform rating to an underperform rating and dropped their target price for the stock from $18.00 to $13.00 in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. Jefferies Group LLC set a $20.00 target price on shares of Dean Foods and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Saturday, July 29th. Vertical Research lowered shares of Dean Foods from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 8th. Finally, Stephens lowered shares of Dean Foods from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and set a $22.00 target price on the stock. in a research report on Tuesday, August 8th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $13.06.

Dean Foods (DF) traded down $0.04 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $9.53. 2,107,000 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,701,777. Dean Foods has a 12 month low of $9.01 and a 12 month high of $22.31. The company has a market capitalization of $865.18, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.36, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.68 and a beta of 0.53. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 1.28.

Dean Foods (NYSE:DF) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, November 7th. The company reported $0.20 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.20. Dean Foods had a net margin of 0.53% and a return on equity of 14.04%. The business had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.97 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.37 earnings per share. Dean Foods’s revenue was down 1.4% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts expect that Dean Foods will post 0.81 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 5th. Shareholders of record on Monday, November 20th will be issued a $0.09 dividend. This represents a $0.36 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.78%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 17th. Dean Foods’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 105.88%.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in Dean Foods by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,384,396 shares of the company’s stock valued at $193,534,000 after buying an additional 129,537 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its holdings in Dean Foods by 1.6% in the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 4,998,465 shares of the company’s stock valued at $54,383,000 after buying an additional 78,538 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its stake in shares of Dean Foods by 2.0% in the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 3,251,809 shares of the company’s stock valued at $55,278,000 after purchasing an additional 62,555 shares in the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Dean Foods by 11.9% in the 3rd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 3,047,962 shares of the company’s stock valued at $33,161,000 after purchasing an additional 323,688 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC boosted its stake in shares of Dean Foods by 56.2% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 2,998,781 shares of the company’s stock valued at $50,979,000 after purchasing an additional 1,079,205 shares in the last quarter. 96.57% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Dean Foods

Dean Foods Company is a food and beverage company. The Company processes and distributes fluid milk, and other dairy and dairy case products in the United States. It is engaged in manufacturing, marketing, selling and distributing a range of branded and private label dairy and dairy case products. It offers branded and private label dairy case products, including fluid milk, ice cream, cultured dairy products, creamers, ice cream mix and other dairy products to retailers, distributors, foodservice outlets, educational institutions and governmental entities across the United States.

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