Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Saturday. They currently have $82.00 price objective on the pharmacy operator’s stock.
According to Zacks, “Walgreens Boots reported an impressive first quarter of fiscal 2018. We are encouraged by the increase in sales at the Retail Pharmacy International. Moreover, Walgreens Boots has been gaining on account of strategic tie-ups, which brought more patients to its U.S. pharmacies. We are particularly upbeat about the limited number of Rite Aid stores acquisition deal for which the company got regulatory approval recently. Also, we are upbeat about the company expanding global footprint with its decision to acquire a 40% stake in Sinopharm Holding Guoda Drugstores in China which should provide a strong impetus to Walgreens Boots’ worldwide retail pharmacy business. On the flip side, over the past six months, Walgreens Boots has been trading below the broader industry. Declining sales at the Retail Pharmacy was a disappointment. The company faces tough competition along with currency fluctuations. Also, slowdown in generic introduction continues to weigh on margins.”
Several other equities research analysts have also issued reports on the company. Morgan Stanley lowered Walgreens Boots Alliance from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and reduced their price target for the company from $95.00 to $85.00 in a report on Friday, October 6th. BidaskClub upgraded Walgreens Boots Alliance from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, November 10th. Vetr upgraded Walgreens Boots Alliance from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Tuesday, December 12th. Robert W. Baird restated an outperform rating and issued a $80.00 target price (down from $90.00) on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a report on Thursday, October 19th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Citigroup reduced their target price on Walgreens Boots Alliance from $95.00 to $81.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. Nine investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fifteen have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Walgreens Boots Alliance has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $86.20.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 4th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.28 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $30.74 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $30.39 billion. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a return on equity of 19.15% and a net margin of 3.19%. The firm’s revenue was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.10 EPS. sell-side analysts anticipate that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post 5.7 earnings per share for the current year.
Walgreens Boots Alliance declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program on Wednesday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the pharmacy operator to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.
In other news, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.37, for a total transaction of $184,324.32. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 16,415 shares in the company, valued at $1,105,878.55. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director John Anthony Lederer purchased 20,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, October 26th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $67.00 per share, with a total value of $1,340,000.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now owns 50,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,350,000. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 14.80% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Commonwealth Bank of Australia increased its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 139.5% during the second quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 46,167 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $3,614,000 after purchasing an additional 26,893 shares during the period. Andra AP fonden increased its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 6.9% during the third quarter. Andra AP fonden now owns 62,300 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $4,811,000 after purchasing an additional 4,000 shares during the period. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 5.4% during the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 3,019,739 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $236,476,000 after purchasing an additional 154,995 shares during the period. Birinyi Associates Inc. increased its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 9.0% during the second quarter. Birinyi Associates Inc. now owns 9,100 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $713,000 after purchasing an additional 750 shares during the period. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc increased its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 5.2% during the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 4,550,856 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $356,368,000 after purchasing an additional 223,186 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 61.20% of the company’s stock.
About Walgreens Boots Alliance
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).
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