Zacks Investment Research Upgrades United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) to Hold

United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “United Natural’s recently reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings benefited from the sale of its stake holdings in Kicking Horse coffee. This indicates that the company has been making solid progress with its rationalizing efforts. Additionally, acquisition related benefits have been aiding the company’s top line for a while now. During the fourth quarter, the company’s top line depicted a year-on-year gain of 5.7% owing to Gourmet Guru and Haddon House acquisitions. Nevertheless, we note that the company has been grappling with ongoing industry challenges, including competitive pricing and moderate inflation. As a result, shares of United Natural have underperformed the Consumer Staples sector in the past six months. We also note that sales of the company have lagged estimates for the last 11 quarters. Moreover, United Natural’s excessive dependency on its sole customer Whole Foods Market poses as a formidable risk.”

Several other equities research analysts have also issued reports on UNFI. Jefferies Group LLC set a $44.00 target price on shares of United Natural Foods and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, May 26th. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “hold” rating and set a $34.00 target price on shares of United Natural Foods in a research note on Wednesday, May 31st. ValuEngine lowered shares of United Natural Foods from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Deutsche Bank AG lowered their target price on shares of United Natural Foods from $46.00 to $43.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, June 7th. Finally, Pivotal Research reissued a “sell” rating on shares of United Natural Foods in a research note on Wednesday, June 7th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $42.56.

Shares of United Natural Foods (UNFI) opened at 39.74 on Friday. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $36.13 and its 200-day moving average price is $39.19. United Natural Foods has a 12-month low of $29.53 and a 12-month high of $49.74. The company has a market capitalization of $2.01 billion, a PE ratio of 15.96 and a beta of 1.39.

United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, September 13th. The company reported $0.72 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.02. United Natural Foods had a net margin of 1.40% and a return on equity of 8.10%. The business had revenue of $2.34 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.36 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.70 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that United Natural Foods will post $2.69 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in United Natural Foods by 16,599.3% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,252,416 shares of the company’s stock valued at $227,062,000 after acquiring an additional 5,220,963 shares during the last quarter. Jennison Associates LLC acquired a new stake in United Natural Foods in the 2nd quarter valued at about $716,000. Peregrine Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in United Natural Foods by 2.0% in the 2nd quarter. Peregrine Capital Management LLC now owns 144,481 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,302,000 after acquiring an additional 2,881 shares during the last quarter. GAM Holding AG acquired a new stake in United Natural Foods in the 2nd quarter valued at about $1,156,000. Finally, Adirondack Research & Management Inc. acquired a new stake in United Natural Foods in the 2nd quarter valued at about $1,725,000.

United Natural Foods Company Profile

United Natural Foods, Inc is a distributor and retailer of natural, organic and specialty products. The Company’s segments include Wholesale and Other. The Wholesale segment is engaged in the national distribution of natural, organic and specialty foods, produce and related products in the United States and Canada.

Analyst Recommendations for United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI)

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