Medifast (NYSE:MED) Coverage Initiated at Jefferies Financial Group

Jefferies Financial Group initiated coverage on shares of Medifast (NYSE:MED) in a report published on Thursday morning, BenzingaRatingsTable reports. The brokerage issued a buy rating and a $130.00 price objective on the specialty retailer’s stock.

MED has been the subject of several other reports. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of HB Fuller from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 3rd. ValuEngine raised shares of XCel Brands from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 9th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $191.25.

MED stock opened at $114.58 on Thursday. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.36 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.80 and a beta of 0.75. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $124.68. Medifast has a one year low of $106.31 and a one year high of $260.98.

Medifast (NYSE:MED) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 1st. The specialty retailer reported $1.70 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.52 by $0.18. The business had revenue of $165.88 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $153.48 million. Medifast had a net margin of 11.32% and a return on equity of 57.73%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 68.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.01 earnings per share. On average, sell-side analysts forecast that Medifast will post 6.8 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, August 7th. Investors of record on Friday, June 28th will be given a $0.75 dividend. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.62%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 27th. Medifast’s payout ratio is currently 64.94%.

In related news, Director Carl E. Sassano sold 850 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $143.94, for a total value of $122,349.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 17,792 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,560,980.48. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Company insiders own 4.00% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. acquired a new position in Medifast in the 1st quarter worth approximately $23,832,000. Millennium Management LLC increased its holdings in Medifast by 129.0% in the 4th quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 169,091 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $21,140,000 after buying an additional 95,242 shares during the period. Rice Hall James & Associates LLC increased its holdings in Medifast by 177.1% in the 1st quarter. Rice Hall James & Associates LLC now owns 136,531 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $17,415,000 after buying an additional 87,262 shares during the period. Norges Bank acquired a new position in Medifast in the 4th quarter worth approximately $10,153,000. Finally, Federated Investors Inc. PA increased its holdings in Medifast by 125.4% in the 1st quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 135,682 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $17,306,000 after buying an additional 75,496 shares during the period. 98.98% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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