Acuity Brands (AYI) Lifted to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Acuity Brands missed analysts’ expectations on both the top and the bottom lines in first quarter of fiscal 2018. Earnings and revenues decreased 3% and 1% year over year, respectively. Continued tepid market conditions and the decline in revenues in certain sales channels led to the drab results. Weakness in its adjusted gross margin was also visible in the quarter, down 80 bps in the quarter. Lighting fixture shipments in the United States declined in a low-single-digit in the quarter. That said, Acuity Brands continues to expect the North American lighting market to increase at a low-single-digit rate in fiscal 2018, with Acuity Brands growing above the industry. The company expects a rebound in the second half of the fiscal year, driven in part by mid-to-large projects. It also expects the recent federal corporate tax rate cut to favorably impact the company’s net income, EPS and cash flows.”

Several other analysts have also issued reports on the stock. KeyCorp initiated coverage on shares of Acuity Brands in a report on Friday, October 13th. They issued a “sector weight” rating on the stock. Robert W. Baird lowered shares of Acuity Brands from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and reduced their price objective for the company from $212.00 to $178.00 in a report on Tuesday, September 19th. Wolfe Research lowered shares of Acuity Brands from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Monday, October 9th. Wells Fargo & Co lowered shares of Acuity Brands from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and reduced their price objective for the company from $225.00 to $185.00 in a report on Friday, September 15th. Finally, Roth Capital set a $130.00 price objective on shares of Acuity Brands and gave the company a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $196.23.

Acuity Brands (AYI) opened at $158.74 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 2.23, a quick ratio of 1.53 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21. The firm has a market cap of $6,692.16, a PE ratio of 20.07, a PEG ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 1.44. Acuity Brands has a 1 year low of $153.28 and a 1 year high of $225.36.

In other Acuity Brands news, EVP Mark A. Black sold 7,441 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $161.32, for a total transaction of $1,200,382.12. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 30,649 shares in the company, valued at $4,944,296.68. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 1.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of AYI. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Acuity Brands by 12.8% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,260,836 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $866,145,000 after purchasing an additional 484,537 shares during the period. American Century Companies Inc. increased its stake in Acuity Brands by 68.1% during the third quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 779,190 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $133,460,000 after purchasing an additional 315,610 shares during the period. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C increased its stake in Acuity Brands by 19.6% during the second quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C now owns 1,413,636 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $287,363,000 after purchasing an additional 231,406 shares during the period. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. increased its stake in Acuity Brands by 34.3% during the third quarter. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. now owns 886,653 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $151,866,000 after purchasing an additional 226,605 shares during the period. Finally, Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC increased its stake in Acuity Brands by 269.3% during the second quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 215,728 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $43,853,000 after purchasing an additional 157,308 shares during the period.

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Acuity Brands Company Profile

Acuity Brands, Inc is a provider of lighting solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications throughout North America and other international markets. The Company operates through North American segment. The Company offers a portfolio of indoor and outdoor lighting and building management solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications.

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