Short Interest in Medifast Inc (NYSE:MED) Increases By 16.2%

Medifast Inc (NYSE:MED) saw a significant growth in short interest during the month of July. As of July 31st, there was short interest totalling 1,940,000 shares, a growth of 16.2% from the June 30th total of 1,669,200 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 259,200 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 7.5 days. Approximately 17.0% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

Several analysts have recently commented on the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Medifast from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $116.00 target price on the stock in a report on Tuesday, August 6th. Jefferies Financial Group assumed coverage on Medifast in a report on Thursday, July 25th. They set a “buy” rating and a $130.00 target price on the stock. Finally, ValuEngine cut Medifast from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 9th.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Sandy Spring Bank acquired a new stake in shares of Medifast during the second quarter worth about $26,000. Financial Gravity Wealth Inc. raised its position in shares of Medifast by 853.8% during the second quarter. Financial Gravity Wealth Inc. now owns 248 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $32,000 after purchasing an additional 222 shares during the period. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its position in shares of Medifast by 41.8% during the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 339 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $42,000 after purchasing an additional 100 shares during the period. Advisors Preferred LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Medifast during the second quarter worth about $49,000. Finally, Systematic Financial Management LP acquired a new stake in Medifast in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $94,000. 98.18% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Medifast stock traded down $2.82 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $101.27. The stock had a trading volume of 172,130 shares, compared to its average volume of 271,628. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $113.72. The firm has a market cap of $1.22 billion, a PE ratio of 21.92 and a beta of 0.71. Medifast has a 12 month low of $96.40 and a 12 month high of $260.98.

Medifast (NYSE:MED) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 1st. The specialty retailer reported $1.75 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.71 by $0.04. Medifast had a return on equity of 61.06% and a net margin of 11.22%. The business had revenue of $187.10 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $181.74 million. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.16 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 59.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Research analysts expect that Medifast will post 6.86 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, August 7th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 28th were paid a $0.75 dividend. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.96%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, June 27th. Medifast’s payout ratio is 64.94%.

About Medifast

Medifast, Inc, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and distributes weight loss, weight management, healthy living products, and other consumable health and nutritional products. It offers bars, bites, pretzels, puffs, oatmeal and cereal crunch products, drinks, hearty choices, pancakes, puddings, soft serves, shakes, smoothies, soft bakes, and soups under the Medifast, OPTAVIA, Thrive by Medifast, Optimal Health by OPTAVIA, Flavors of Home, and Essential 1 brands.

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