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

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Dean Foods (NYSE:DF) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Dean Foods, whose shares have declined in the past three months, is battling hurdles related to input cost inflation, soft volumes and increased retailer investments in the private label space. These factors hurt the company in second-quarter 2018, wherein earnings fell year over year due to greater-than-expected increases in resin, freight and fuel expenses. Also, soft volumes and greater mix of private label products hurt the gross margin. These hurdles are expected to persist, which compelled management to slash its 2018 earnings view. Nonetheless, the company is aggressively working toward enhancing volumes and lowering costs through smart volumes initiative and its cost-productivity plan. Notably, the latter helped lower G&A costs by about $13 million during the quarter. We also commend Dean Foods’ focus on diversifying its portfolio by moving beyond core brands, evident from its raised stake in Good Karma.”

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Jefferies Financial Group set a $13.00 target price on shares of Dean Foods and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, August 28th. ValuEngine cut shares of Dean Foods from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a report on Tuesday, September 4th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut shares of Dean Foods from a neutral rating to an underweight rating and dropped their target price for the stock from $9.00 to $6.00 in a report on Friday, August 17th. BMO Capital Markets dropped their target price on shares of Dean Foods from $10.00 to $9.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, August 8th. Finally, Vertical Group cut shares of Dean Foods from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, August 7th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $9.06.

Shares of NYSE:DF opened at $7.40 on Monday. The firm has a market cap of $694.45 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.13, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.44 and a beta of 0.29. Dean Foods has a 1-year low of $7.32 and a 1-year high of $12.09. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.39, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.47.

Dean Foods (NYSE:DF) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, August 7th. The company reported $0.16 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.14 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $1.95 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.94 billion. Dean Foods had a net margin of 0.17% and a return on equity of 10.88%. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.21 earnings per share. equities research analysts anticipate that Dean Foods will post 0.4 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, August 29th. Investors of record on Monday, August 20th were issued a $0.09 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Friday, August 17th. This represents a $0.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.86%. Dean Foods’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 45.00%.

In other news, major shareholder Value Vals Ag Vv acquired 350,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 7th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $8.31 per share, with a total value of $2,908,500.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 1.20% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in DF. US Bancorp DE increased its holdings in shares of Dean Foods by 333.5% in the 1st quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 11,912 shares of the company’s stock worth $103,000 after acquiring an additional 9,164 shares during the period. Campbell & CO Investment Adviser LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Dean Foods in the 2nd quarter worth about $162,000. Jane Street Group LLC increased its holdings in shares of Dean Foods by 276.6% in the 2nd quarter. Jane Street Group LLC now owns 17,835 shares of the company’s stock worth $187,000 after acquiring an additional 27,935 shares during the period. Trexquant Investment LP acquired a new stake in shares of Dean Foods in the 1st quarter worth about $197,000. Finally, Mackay Shields LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Dean Foods in the 1st quarter worth about $197,000. 85.15% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Dean Foods

Dean Foods Company, a food and beverage company, processes and distributes milk, and other dairy and dairy case products in the United States. The company manufactures, markets, and distributes various branded and private label dairy, and diary case products, such as fluid milk, ice creams, cultured dairy products, creamers, ice cream mixes, and other dairy products; and juices, teas, bottled water, and other products.

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