Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) Rating Increased to Overweight at Morgan Stanley

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) was upgraded by investment analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday, MarketBeat.com reports. The firm presently has a $118.00 price objective on the restaurant operator’s stock, up from their prior price objective of $113.00. Morgan Stanley’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 11.95% from the stock’s current price.

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. ValuEngine cut shares of Yum! Brands from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 2nd. Cowen cut Yum! Brands from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and cut their price objective for the stock from $117.00 to $109.00 in a research report on Wednesday, January 8th. Evercore ISI restated a “buy” rating and set a $125.00 target price on shares of Yum! Brands in a research note on Wednesday, December 18th. Cfra lowered Yum! Brands from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 30th. Finally, Argus downgraded Yum! Brands from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 17th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $112.24.

Shares of Yum! Brands stock opened at $105.40 on Friday. The firm has a fifty day simple moving average of $100.74 and a 200-day simple moving average of $108.36. The stock has a market capitalization of $30.90 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.63, a PEG ratio of 2.02 and a beta of 0.44. Yum! Brands has a 1-year low of $88.52 and a 1-year high of $119.72.

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, October 30th. The restaurant operator reported $0.80 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.94 by ($0.14). The firm had revenue of $1.34 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.35 billion. Yum! Brands had a negative return on equity of 11.69% and a net margin of 20.88%. The business’s revenue was down 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.04 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Yum! Brands will post 3.69 EPS for the current year.

Yum! Brands announced that its board has initiated a share repurchase plan on Thursday, November 21st that permits the company to buyback $2.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the restaurant operator to purchase up to 6.7% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, President David W. Gibbs sold 1,521 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $98.63, for a total value of $150,016.23. Following the sale, the president now owns 43,279 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,268,607.77. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, President David W. Gibbs sold 1,530 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $100.43, for a total transaction of $153,657.90. Following the completion of the sale, the president now directly owns 43,266 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,345,204.38. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.67% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Clean Yield Group acquired a new position in shares of Yum! Brands in the 4th quarter worth approximately $68,000. First National Bank of Omaha lifted its position in shares of Yum! Brands by 4.1% during the 4th quarter. First National Bank of Omaha now owns 5,248 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $529,000 after buying an additional 208 shares during the period. Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft FI lifted its position in shares of Yum! Brands by 8.1% during the 4th quarter. Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft FI now owns 119,803 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $12,068,000 after buying an additional 8,987 shares during the period. Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Co. boosted its stake in Yum! Brands by 4.3% in the 4th quarter. Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Co. now owns 10,244 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,032,000 after buying an additional 424 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Welch & Forbes LLC boosted its stake in Yum! Brands by 9.4% in the 4th quarter. Welch & Forbes LLC now owns 2,653 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $267,000 after buying an additional 228 shares in the last quarter. 75.37% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Yum! Brands

YUM! Brands, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, develops, operates, and franchises quick service restaurants worldwide. It operates in three segments: the KFC Division, the Pizza Hut Division, and the Taco Bell Division. The company operates restaurants under the KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell brands, which specialize in chicken, pizza, and Mexican-style food categories.

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