Medifast (MED) Raised to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Medifast (NYSE:MED) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $79.00 target price on the specialty retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Medifast is a leading manufacturer and distributor of clinically proven healthy living products and programs. It is the brand recommended by more than 20,000 Doctors. Medifast produces, distributes, and sells weight loss and other health-related products through websites, multi-level marketing, telemarketing, franchised weight loss clinics, and medical professionals. The company launched OPTAVIA, an exclusive brand and product line sold through its community of independent Coaches who offer support and guidance to their Clients. In partnership with OPTAVIA Coaches , franchise partners, resellers and its Scientific Advisory Board, Medifast offers comprehensive wellness products and programs that focus on creating sustainable change by helping people learn to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. “

MED has been the topic of several other research reports. DA Davidson raised their price target on shares of Medifast to $89.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, December 8th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Medifast from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, December 1st. Finally, Sidoti reaffirmed a neutral rating and issued a $55.00 price target (up previously from $49.00) on shares of Medifast in a research note on Thursday, September 21st. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $74.33.

Medifast (NYSE MED) traded up $0.50 during trading on Friday, hitting $70.59. 59,800 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 102,760. The company has a market cap of $842.40, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.60, a PEG ratio of 1.80 and a beta of 0.50. Medifast has a 12-month low of $40.00 and a 12-month high of $74.78.

Medifast (NYSE:MED) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, November 7th. The specialty retailer reported $0.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.51 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $77.20 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $74.94 million. Medifast had a net margin of 8.58% and a return on equity of 24.07%. The business’s revenue was up 12.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.51 EPS. analysts anticipate that Medifast will post 2.17 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 8th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 22nd will be given a dividend of $0.48 per share. This is an increase from Medifast’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 21st. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.72%. Medifast’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 94.12%.

In other Medifast news, Director Glenn W. Welling sold 275,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.60, for a total transaction of $17,765,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Glenn W. Welling sold 250,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total transaction of $16,250,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 5.40% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio grew its position in shares of Medifast by 248.2% in the 3rd quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 2,354 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $140,000 after buying an additional 1,678 shares during the last quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Medifast in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $108,000. Sei Investments Co. grew its position in shares of Medifast by 95.9% in the 2nd quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 3,922 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $163,000 after buying an additional 1,920 shares during the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA grew its position in shares of Medifast by 86.2% in the 2nd quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 4,189 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $174,000 after buying an additional 1,939 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. purchased a new position in shares of Medifast in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $267,000. 86.91% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Medifast Company Profile

Medifast, Inc produces, distributes and sells weight loss, weight management, and healthy living products, and other consumable health and nutritional products. The Company’s product lines include weight loss, weight management, and healthy living meal replacements, snacks, hydration products, and vitamins.

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