Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $76.00 price target on the pharmacy operator’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective indicates a potential upside of 11.29% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “We are encouraged by Walgreens Boots'  increase in sales at the Retail Pharmacy International. Moreover, the company's 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. Accordingly, over the past three months, Walgreens Boots has been trading above the broader industry.  However, declining sales at the Retail Pharmacy was a disappointment. The company faces tough competition along with currency fluctuations.”

A number of other research analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Mizuho set a $94.00 price objective on Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. Citigroup decreased their price objective 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. Jefferies Group set a $93.00 price objective on Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, October 29th. Loop Capital set a $90.00 price objective on Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $88.00 price objective on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a report on Wednesday, October 25th. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $85.05.

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ WBA) traded down $0.17 during trading on Wednesday, hitting $68.29. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 6,791,500 shares, compared to its average volume of 5,977,443. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a 12 month low of $63.82 and a 12 month high of $88.00. The company has a market capitalization of $67,850.00, a P/E ratio of 18.86, a P/E/G ratio of 1.16 and a beta of 1.18. The company has a quick ratio of 0.47, a current ratio of 0.96 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48.

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, topping the consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.01. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a return on equity of 19.15% and a net margin of 3.19%. The company had revenue of $30.74 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $30.39 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.10 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.9% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts expect that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post 5.71 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Walgreens Boots Alliance declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the pharmacy operator to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, insider Stefano Pessina purchased 98,858 shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 15th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $76.07 per share, with a total value of $7,520,128.06. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 14.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of WBA. Hudock Capital Group LLC lifted its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.5% in the second quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,306 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 6 shares during the last quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. lifted its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 10.4% in the second quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,325 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 125 shares during the last quarter. Zions Bancorporation lifted its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 983.3% in the third quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 1,365 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $105,000 after buying an additional 1,239 shares during the last quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 46.3% in the second quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC now owns 6,946 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $135,000 after buying an additional 2,199 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bristlecone Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in the third quarter valued at approximately $135,000. 61.57% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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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