WestRock (NYSE:WRK) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of WestRock (NYSE:WRK) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Saturday, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $42.00 target price on the basic materials company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “WestRock’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2020 earnings and revenues beat the respective Zacks Consensus Estimates. The company is poised to gain from strong growth in e-commerce activities amid the pandemic-induced crisis. WestRock's consumer packaging business is gaining from fiber-based packaging solutions and significant demand in food, food service and beverage packaging categories. Its corrugated packaging business is poised to gain from improved box shipment as well as increased demand from distribution, industrial and agricultural customers as the economy gradually recovers. Moreover, the company is taking steps to align supply with current demand and framed a Pandemic Action Plan to drive savings. However, weak demand across some of the company’s end markets amid the coronavirus pandemic is likely to dent its results.”

A number of other equities research analysts also recently commented on the stock. Wells Fargo & Company reissued a buy rating and issued a $44.00 price objective (up from $40.00) on shares of WestRock in a research report on Wednesday, September 9th. DA Davidson reissued a buy rating on shares of WestRock in a research report on Wednesday, August 5th. Citigroup increased their target price on shares of WestRock from $34.00 to $36.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, August 6th. Bank of America increased their target price on shares of WestRock from $38.00 to $41.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 15th. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased their target price on shares of WestRock from $28.00 to $36.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research report on Monday, October 26th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. WestRock has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $39.73.

WRK stock opened at $43.61 on Friday. The company has a fifty day moving average price of $38.56 and a 200 day moving average price of $31.76. WestRock has a 12 month low of $21.50 and a 12 month high of $44.39. The company has a market cap of $11.32 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.59 and a beta of 1.38. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.84, a current ratio of 1.80 and a quick ratio of 1.03.

WestRock (NYSE:WRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 5th. The basic materials company reported $0.73 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.05. WestRock had a net margin of 4.37% and a return on equity of 7.24%. The company had revenue of $4.47 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.37 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.24 EPS. WestRock’s quarterly revenue was down 3.9% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts anticipate that WestRock will post 2.61 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 24th. Stockholders of record on Friday, November 13th will be given a dividend of $0.20 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 12th. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.83%. WestRock’s payout ratio is currently 20.10%.

In other news, insider James B. Porter sold 19,202 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.32, for a total transaction of $831,830.64. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 71,198 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,084,297.36. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Insiders own 1.92% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. CIBC Asset Management Inc increased its holdings in WestRock by 2.0% in the 2nd quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 18,767 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $530,000 after purchasing an additional 367 shares in the last quarter. Independent Advisor Alliance grew its position in shares of WestRock by 4.6% during the second quarter. Independent Advisor Alliance now owns 8,369 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $237,000 after purchasing an additional 370 shares in the last quarter. DAVENPORT & Co LLC grew its position in shares of WestRock by 0.3% during the second quarter. DAVENPORT & Co LLC now owns 129,034 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $3,646,000 after purchasing an additional 406 shares in the last quarter. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. lifted its holdings in shares of WestRock by 1.4% in the 3rd quarter. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. now owns 35,907 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,247,000 after acquiring an additional 498 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Nissay Asset Management Corp Japan ADV lifted its holdings in shares of WestRock by 1.8% in the 3rd quarter. Nissay Asset Management Corp Japan ADV now owns 30,055 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,044,000 after acquiring an additional 518 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 80.83% of the company’s stock.

About WestRock

WestRock Company manufactures and sells paper and packaging solutions for the consumer and corrugated markets in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The company's Corrugated Packaging segment produces containerboards, corrugated sheets, corrugated packaging, and preprinted linerboards for consumer and industrial products manufacturers, and corrugated box manufacturers.

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