United Natural Foods (UNFI) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

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

According to Zacks, “United Natural’s shares have declined and lagged the industry in the past three months. The downside was caused by dismal gross margin trends stemming from unfavorable shift in consumer mix and higher inbound freight costs. High fuel costs are a major reason for increased fright expenses. Moreover, supplier’s inability to meet demand conditions has been putting pressure on the company’s supply chain. Additionally, the company has also been bearing high labor expenses across several distribution centers. Nevertheless, the company is gaining from rising consumer demand. In fact, during the first quarter of fiscal 2019, top line increased year on year buoyed by solid demand across most sales channels. Further, well-chalked acquisitions have boosted portfolio strength, and enhanced revenue opportunities. In this respect, management expects significant gains from the buyout of SUPERVALU in the forthcoming periods.”

UNFI has been the subject of a number of other reports. Buckingham Research reduced their price objective on shares of United Natural Foods from $26.00 to $24.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a report on Friday, November 30th. TheStreet downgraded shares of United Natural Foods from a c rating to a d+ rating in a report on Tuesday, December 11th. Royal Bank of Canada set a $28.00 price target on shares of United Natural Foods and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, December 4th. Morgan Stanley set a $25.00 price target on shares of United Natural Foods and gave the company a sell rating in a report on Monday, October 22nd. Finally, BidaskClub downgraded shares of United Natural Foods from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a report on Saturday, December 1st. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. United Natural Foods currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $26.58.

Shares of United Natural Foods stock opened at $13.31 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.74, a current ratio of 1.59 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.77. United Natural Foods has a fifty-two week low of $9.23 and a fifty-two week high of $49.40. The firm has a market capitalization of $676.33 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 4.28, a P/E/G ratio of 0.82 and a beta of 2.15.

United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, December 6th. The company reported $0.59 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.73 by ($0.14). The business had revenue of $2.87 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.70 billion. United Natural Foods had a return on equity of 8.58% and a net margin of 1.09%. United Natural Foods’s revenue was up 16.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.60 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that United Natural Foods will post 1.73 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, SVP Sean Griffin acquired 18,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, December 12th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $12.84 per share, for a total transaction of $231,120.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 44,108 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $566,346.72. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Company insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Cerebellum GP LLC increased its position in United Natural Foods by 2,211.4% in the 4th quarter. Cerebellum GP LLC now owns 3,236 shares of the company’s stock valued at $34,000 after acquiring an additional 3,096 shares in the last quarter. We Are One Seven LLC acquired a new stake in United Natural Foods in the 4th quarter valued at about $41,000. Zions Bancorporation acquired a new stake in United Natural Foods in the 3rd quarter valued at about $117,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC increased its position in United Natural Foods by 211.4% in the 3rd quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 5,219 shares of the company’s stock valued at $156,000 after acquiring an additional 3,543 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in United Natural Foods by 20.4% in the 4th quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 6,604 shares of the company’s stock valued at $70,000 after acquiring an additional 1,120 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 98.17% of the company’s stock.

About United Natural Foods

United Natural Foods, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, distributes natural, organic, and specialty foods and non-food products in the United States and Canada. The company operates through three divisions: Wholesale, Retail, and Manufacturing and Branded Products. The Wholesale division offers grocery and general merchandise, produce, perishables and frozen foods, nutritional supplements and sports nutrition, bulk and foodservice products, and personal care products.

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