Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has $76.00 price target on the pharmacy operator’s stock.
According to Zacks, “We are encouraged by Walgreens Boots' increase in sales at the Retail Pharmacy International. Moreover, the company's has been gaining on account of strategic tie-ups, which brought more patients to its U.S. pharmacies. We are particularly upbeat about the limited number of Rite Aid stores acquisition deal for which the company got regulatory approval recently. Also, we are upbeat about the company expanding global footprint with its decision to acquire a 40% stake in Sinopharm Holding Guoda Drugstores in China which should provide a strong impetus to Walgreens Boots’ worldwide retail pharmacy business. Accordingly, over the past three months, Walgreens Boots has been trading above the broader industry. However, declining sales at the Retail Pharmacy was a disappointment. The company faces tough competition along with currency fluctuations.”
Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. Mizuho set a $94.00 price target on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. Citigroup cut their target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from $95.00 to $81.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. Jefferies Group set a $93.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Sunday, October 29th. Loop Capital set a $90.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reissued a buy rating and issued a $88.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a report on Wednesday, October 25th. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $85.05.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 4th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.28 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.27 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $30.74 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $30.39 billion. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a net margin of 3.19% and a return on equity of 19.15%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.10 EPS. equities research analysts predict that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post 5.73 earnings per share for the current year.
Walgreens Boots Alliance announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday, October 25th that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the pharmacy operator to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, March 12th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, February 15th will be paid a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, February 14th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.26%. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s payout ratio is currently 44.20%.
In other news, insider Stefano Pessina purchased 98,858 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, January 15th. The shares were bought at an average price of $76.07 per share, for a total transaction of $7,520,128.06. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. 14.80% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Pathstone Family Office LLC boosted its holdings in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 226.6% during the second quarter. Pathstone Family Office LLC now owns 1,179 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $1,969,000 after buying an additional 818 shares in the last quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC boosted its holdings in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.5% during the second quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,306 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $102,000 after buying an additional 6 shares in the last quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. boosted its holdings in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 10.4% during the second quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,325 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $102,000 after buying an additional 125 shares in the last quarter. Zions Bancorporation boosted its holdings in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 983.3% during the third quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 1,365 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $105,000 after buying an additional 1,239 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bristlecone Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance during the third quarter worth approximately $135,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 61.57% of the company’s stock.
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About Walgreens Boots Alliance
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).
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