UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) Sees Large Growth in Short Interest

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UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) saw a significant growth in short interest in the month of June. As of June 15th, there was short interest totalling 233,000 shares, a growth of 54.7% from the May 15th total of 150,600 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 116,900 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.0 days. Approximately 1.6% of the company’s stock are short sold.

In other UniFirst news, VP Michael A. Croatti sold 532 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, April 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $156.35, for a total value of $83,178.20. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 5,651 shares in the company, valued at $883,533.85. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, VP David A. Difillippo sold 883 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, May 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $157.85, for a total transaction of $139,381.55. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 11,162 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,761,921.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 9,427 shares of company stock valued at $1,467,149 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Norges Bank bought a new stake in shares of UniFirst in the 4th quarter valued at $38,236,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its stake in shares of UniFirst by 8.1% in the 4th quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 301,680 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $43,162,000 after acquiring an additional 22,700 shares in the last quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio increased its stake in shares of UniFirst by 5.2% in the 4th quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 54,455 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $7,791,000 after acquiring an additional 2,683 shares in the last quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can increased its stake in shares of UniFirst by 9.0% in the 4th quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 20,771 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $2,740,000 after acquiring an additional 1,711 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA increased its stake in shares of UniFirst by 232.3% in the 1st quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 3,552 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $545,000 after acquiring an additional 2,483 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 77.07% of the company’s stock.

UniFirst stock traded up $7.20 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $185.31. 8,314 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 110,805. UniFirst has a 12 month low of $132.38 and a 12 month high of $193.05. The firm’s fifty day moving average price is $162.93. The firm has a market capitalization of $3.39 billion, a PE ratio of 24.93 and a beta of 0.63.

UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, June 26th. The textile maker reported $2.46 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.70 by $0.76. UniFirst had a net margin of 8.73% and a return on equity of 8.89%. The firm had revenue of $453.72 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $441.70 million. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.85 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 6.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, research analysts expect that UniFirst will post 6.94 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 28th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 7th will be issued a dividend of $0.1125 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 6th. This represents a $0.45 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.24%. UniFirst’s payout ratio is 6.04%.

Several equities analysts have recently weighed in on the stock. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of UniFirst from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $173.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Saturday, March 30th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased their price objective on shares of UniFirst from $155.00 to $183.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $169.33.

About UniFirst

UniFirst Corporation provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States, Europe, and Canada. The company operates through U.S. Rental and Cleaning, Canadian Rental and Cleaning, Manufacturing, Specialty Garments Rental and Cleaning, and First Aid segments. It designs, manufactures, personalizes, rents, cleans, delivers, and sells a range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, lab coats, smocks, and aprons; and specialized protective wear, such as flame resistant and high visibility garments.

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