Zacks Investment Research Upgrades WestRock (WRK) to Buy

WestRock (NYSE:WRK) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Saturday. The firm presently has a $76.00 price target on the basic materials company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 13.03% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “WestRock’s first-quarter fiscal 2018 adjusted earnings per share surged 85% on a year-over-year basis and also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Despite commodity cost inflation, WestRock expects adjusted earnings per share in second-quarter to be higher than year-ago quarter’s adjusted EPS of 54 cents. Backed by industry conditions, positive volume and pricing dynamics, net sales growth is expected to rise 10% while adjusted segment EBITDA will grow 20%. The announced acquisition of rival, KapStone fits well with WestRock's existing operational footprint, should generate significant cost synergies and broaden WestRock's paper packaging product offering. The joint venture with Grupo Gondi has enhanced its ability to win share in the growing Mexican packaging market. Productivity and performance improvement programs, along with cost-saving actions remain tailwinds. WestRock outperformed the industry in the past two years.”

Several other equities analysts have also commented on WRK. Citigroup increased their price objective on WestRock from $80.00 to $83.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Deutsche Bank set a $78.00 price objective on WestRock and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. DA Davidson reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $82.00 price objective on shares of WestRock in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 price objective on shares of WestRock in a research report on Thursday, January 25th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $85.00 price objective on shares of WestRock in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, nine have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $73.92.

WestRock (WRK) opened at $67.24 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 1.28, a quick ratio of 0.89 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47. The company has a market capitalization of $17,130.00 and a PE ratio of 9.84. WestRock has a 1 year low of $49.23 and a 1 year high of $71.55.

WestRock (NYSE:WRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, January 29th. The basic materials company reported $0.87 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.75 by $0.12. The firm had revenue of $3.89 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.95 billion. WestRock had a return on equity of 7.45% and a net margin of 11.51%. The company’s revenue was up 13.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.47 EPS. sell-side analysts anticipate that WestRock will post 3.88 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Director John A. Luke, Jr. sold 10,343 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.55, for a total transaction of $605,582.65. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 497,557 shares in the company, valued at approximately $29,131,962.35. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, insider James B. Porter sold 14,930 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.00, for a total value of $1,045,100.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 50,093 shares in the company, valued at $3,506,510. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 125,003 shares of company stock worth $7,755,152. 2.68% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Sentry Investment Management LLC grew its position in WestRock by 3.1% during the 2nd quarter. Sentry Investment Management LLC now owns 14,661 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $831,000 after acquiring an additional 442 shares during the last quarter. Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. grew its position in WestRock by 21.8% during the 3rd quarter. Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. now owns 5,310 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $301,000 after acquiring an additional 951 shares during the last quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. lifted its holdings in WestRock by 1.1% in the 3rd quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. now owns 87,746 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $5,088,000 after buying an additional 953 shares during the period. Eqis Capital Management Inc. lifted its holdings in WestRock by 9.9% in the 3rd quarter. Eqis Capital Management Inc. now owns 11,786 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $669,000 after buying an additional 1,058 shares during the period. Finally, Mutual of America Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in WestRock by 4.3% in the 3rd quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC now owns 31,943 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,812,000 after buying an additional 1,329 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 87.69% of the company’s stock.

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WestRock Company Profile

WestRock Company, incorporated on March 6, 2015, is a multinational provider of paper and packaging solutions for consumer and corrugated packaging markets. The Company also develops real estate in the Charleston, South Carolina region. The Company’s segments include Corrugated Packaging, Consumer Packaging, and Land and Development.

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