United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) Raised to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report released on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Estimates of United Natural declined after it posted mixed second-quarter fiscal 2017 results, where earnings came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate but revenues lagged the same. The company also slashed its fiscal 2017 view. In fact, the company’s shares have underperformed than the Zacks categorized industry since past three months. Nevertheless, both earnings and revenues increased year over year. We believe the company’s acquisition strategies, efforts to increase its market share and improve operational efficiency are the reasons for its growth. Gross margin also improved backed by margin improvement initiatives. However, we note that promotional activities and competitive pricing pressure remained the major headwinds in the first half of fiscal 2017. Further, the company has been grappling with ongoing industry challenges, including heightened competition and little to no meaningful improvement in inflation.”

A number of other equities analysts have also weighed in on UNFI. BMO Capital Markets set a $45.00 target price on shares of United Natural Foods and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Friday, December 9th. Guggenheim reissued a buy rating and set a $52.00 price target (up from $47.00) on shares of United Natural Foods in a research report on Friday, December 9th. Northcoast Research reissued a neutral rating on shares of United Natural Foods in a research report on Monday, November 28th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc began coverage on shares of United Natural Foods in a research report on Tuesday, January 31st. They set a neutral rating and a $49.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reissued a sector perform rating and set a $34.00 price target on shares of United Natural Foods in a research report on Tuesday, December 13th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. United Natural Foods currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $42.26.

Shares of United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) traded down 0.58% during trading on Friday, reaching $41.48. The company had a trading volume of 415,419 shares. United Natural Foods has a 12 month low of $33.16 and a 12 month high of $52.18. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.10 billion, a PE ratio of 16.40 and a beta of 1.24. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $42.72 and its 200-day moving average price is $44.69.

United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, March 8th. The company reported $0.50 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.50. The firm earned $2.29 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.33 billion. United Natural Foods had a net margin of 1.44% and a return on equity of 8.48%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 11.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.49 EPS. Equities analysts forecast that United Natural Foods will post $2.54 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its position in shares of United Natural Foods by 30.7% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 2,488,175 shares of the company’s stock worth $118,736,000 after buying an additional 584,991 shares during the period. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of United Natural Foods during the fourth quarter worth about $26,649,000. FMR LLC raised its position in shares of United Natural Foods by 10.1% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 5,647,554 shares of the company’s stock worth $269,502,000 after buying an additional 517,680 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its position in shares of United Natural Foods by 22,852.5% in the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 474,428 shares of the company’s stock worth $18,996,000 after buying an additional 472,361 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Riverbridge Partners LLC raised its position in shares of United Natural Foods by 16.9% in the third quarter. Riverbridge Partners LLC now owns 1,851,683 shares of the company’s stock worth $74,141,000 after buying an additional 267,643 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 99.29% of the company’s stock.

About United Natural Foods

United Natural Foods, Inc is a distributor and retailer of natural, organic and specialty products. The Company’s segments include Wholesale and Other. The Wholesale segment is engaged in the national distribution of natural, organic and specialty foods, produce and related products in the United States and Canada.

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