Ulta Beauty Inc (ULTA) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Wednesday morning. The firm currently has $336.00 price objective on the specialty retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Ulta Beauty has comfortably outperformed the broader industry on a year-to-date basis. The company continues to gain from broad merchandise portfolio, rapid growth in loyalty program, solid sales and effective marketing. This aided the company retain its solid surprise trend in fourth-quarter fiscal 2016, wherein it topped earnings and sales estimates for the 13th straight quarter. Its strategy of striking the right balance between online and physical stores provides it an edge over other brick & mortar retailers. The company recorded 56.2% growth in eCommerce comparable sales and 13.4% rise in in-store comps in fiscal 2016. While the beauty retailer retained its tradition of providing conservative guidance, we believe this will help it deliver better-than-expected results. However, the company remains on the back foot due to limited global brand awareness, alongside challenges related to cheaper alternatives and changing consumer preference.”

ULTA has been the topic of a number of other reports. Citigroup Inc reaffirmed an outperform rating on shares of Ulta Beauty in a report on Monday, March 6th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reaffirmed an outperform rating and set a $315.00 price objective (up from $300.00) on shares of Ulta Beauty in a report on Tuesday, March 7th. Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $295.00 price objective on shares of Ulta Beauty in a report on Saturday, March 11th. Loop Capital assumed coverage on Ulta Beauty in a report on Wednesday, February 8th. They set a hold rating and a $285.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Instinet boosted their target price on Ulta Beauty from $297.00 to $320.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Monday, March 20th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $302.53.

Shares of Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA) traded down 0.62% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $293.57. The stock had a trading volume of 159,840 shares. The stock has a market cap of $18.24 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 45.03 and a beta of 0.65. Ulta Beauty has a one year low of $203.18 and a one year high of $301.40. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $285.71 and a 200 day moving average of $268.42.

Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, March 9th. The specialty retailer reported $2.24 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.13 by $0.11. The company had revenue of $1.58 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.54 billion. Ulta Beauty had a return on equity of 26.87% and a net margin of 8.31%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 24.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.69 earnings per share. On average, analysts forecast that Ulta Beauty will post $8.08 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, Director Robert F. Diromualdo sold 50,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $285.15, for a total value of $14,257,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 4,309 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,228,711.35. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director Catherine Ann Halligan sold 157 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, April 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $286.00, for a total transaction of $44,902.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 3,875 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,108,250. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 150,534 shares of company stock valued at $42,979,662 in the last three months. 6.90% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Ulta Beauty by 2,734.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,007,950 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $1,143,188,000 after buying an additional 3,866,567 shares during the period. Jennison Associates LLC raised its position in shares of Ulta Beauty by 83.6% in the third quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 2,029,500 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $482,980,000 after buying an additional 924,308 shares during the period. Norges Bank purchased a new position in shares of Ulta Beauty during the fourth quarter valued at about $146,350,000. Wellington Management Group LLP raised its position in shares of Ulta Beauty by 1,786.4% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 449,648 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $128,253,000 after buying an additional 425,812 shares during the period. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its position in shares of Ulta Beauty by 51.2% in the first quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 935,601 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $266,862,000 after buying an additional 316,898 shares during the period. 86.21% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Ulta Beauty

Ulta Beauty, Inc is a holding company for the Ulta Beauty group of companies. The Company is a beauty retailer. The Company offers cosmetics, fragrance, skin, hair care products and salon services. The Company offers approximately 20,000 products from over 500 beauty brands across all categories, including the Company’s own private label.

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