ValuEngine Upgrades UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) to “Buy”

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UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) was upgraded by investment analysts at ValuEngine from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday, ValuEngine reports.

A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on UNF. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of UniFirst from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $173.00 price target on the stock in a report on Saturday, March 30th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised their target price on shares of UniFirst from $155.00 to $183.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. UniFirst has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $169.33.

Shares of UniFirst stock traded up $7.38 on Thursday, reaching $185.49. The stock had a trading volume of 315,889 shares, compared to its average volume of 121,790. UniFirst has a 1 year low of $132.38 and a 1 year high of $191.95. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.39 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.90 and a beta of 0.63. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $163.32.

UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, June 26th. The textile maker reported $2.46 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates 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 for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $441.70 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.85 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts anticipate that UniFirst will post 6.94 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, VP David A. Difillippo sold 840 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $155.68, for a total value of $130,771.20. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 6,856 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,067,342.08. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Michael A. Croatti sold 532 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, April 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $156.35, for a total transaction of $83,178.20. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 5,651 shares in the company, valued at $883,533.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 9,427 shares of company stock worth $1,467,149 over the last ninety days. 1.00% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of UNF. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc bought a new position in UniFirst during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $28,000. Ellis Investment Partners LLC bought a new position in UniFirst during the first quarter valued at approximately $36,000. Marshall Wace North America L.P. grew its position in UniFirst by 17.4% during the first quarter. Marshall Wace North America L.P. now owns 473 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $73,000 after acquiring an additional 70 shares during the last quarter. Cambridge Trust Co. bought a new position in UniFirst during the first quarter valued at approximately $203,000. Finally, Magnus Financial Group LLC bought a new position in UniFirst during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $214,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 77.07% of the company’s stock.

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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