Patterson Cos. (NASDAQ:PDCO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “We remain particularly upbeat about the growth prospects of The Patterson Companies’ Animal Health segment and the recently formed a partnership with Heartland Dental, a significant positive to strengthen the company’s dental business. Additionally Patterson offers a wide range of consumable supplies, equipment, software, and value-added services to its customers, which is likely to enhance the company’s growth trajectory for the long haul. However unfavorable foreign exchange rate, higher operating expenses and accelerating debt are the major concerns at present for the company. Additionally, the U.S. dental products distribution industry is highly competitive and poises a major threat for Patterson. Meanwhile, a glimpse on the estimate trends reveals that estimates are stable for the current year, before the company’s earnings release of second-quarter of fiscal 2017.”

A number of other research firms have also recently commented on PDCO. Credit Suisse Group AG reissued a “buy” rating and set a $55.00 target price on shares of Patterson Cos. in a research report on Monday, June 27th. Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Patterson Cos. in a research report on Thursday, August 4th. Off Wall Street began coverage on shares of Patterson Cos. in a research report on Monday, August 8th. They set a “sell” rating for the company. Bank of America Corp. began coverage on shares of Patterson Cos. in a research report on Wednesday, August 24th. They set an “underperform” rating and a $44.00 target price for the company. Finally, Robert W. Baird reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $49.00 target price (down previously from $51.00) on shares of Patterson Cos. in a research report on Friday, August 26th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. Patterson Cos. presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $48.40.

Analyst Recommendations for Patterson Cos. (NASDAQ:PDCO)

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Patterson Cos. (NASDAQ:PDCO) traded down 0.53% during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $45.26. 306,269 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The stock has a market capitalization of $4.32 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.32 and a beta of 0.94. Patterson Cos. has a 12-month low of $38.51 and a 12-month high of $50.40. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $45.97 and its 200-day moving average is $46.60.

Patterson Cos. (NASDAQ:PDCO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 25th. The company reported $0.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.51. The company earned $1.32 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.35 billion. Patterson Cos. had a net margin of 3.52% and a return on equity of 17.42%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 15.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.47 EPS. On average, equities analysts forecast that Patterson Cos. will post $2.67 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 28th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 14th will be paid a $0.24 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, October 12th. This represents a $0.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.11%. Patterson Cos.’s payout ratio is currently 47.29%.

In other news, insider Ann B. Gugino sold 750 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, August 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.22, for a total value of $34,665.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 40,153 shares in the company, valued at $1,855,871.66. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.46% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Friess Associates LLC acquired a new stake in Patterson Cos. during the first quarter worth $151,000. Wellington Management Group LLP raised its stake in Patterson Cos. by 3.5% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 2,801,575 shares of the company’s stock worth $130,358,000 after buying an additional 94,184 shares during the last quarter. Prudential PLC purchased a new stake in Patterson Cos. during the first quarter valued at approximately $279,000. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Patterson Cos. by 1.5% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 783,712 shares of the company’s stock valued at $36,400,000 after buying an additional 11,454 shares in the last quarter. Finally, UBS Group AG raised its stake in Patterson Cos. by 264.2% in the first quarter. UBS Group AG now owns 98,014 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,561,000 after buying an additional 71,105 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 77.29% of the company’s stock.

About Patterson Cos.

Patterson Companies, Inc is a distributor serving the dental, veterinary and rehabilitation supply markets. The Company operates through three segments: dental supply, veterinary supply and rehabilitation supply. The dental supply segment provides a range of consumable dental products, clinical and laboratory equipment, and value-added services to dentists, dental laboratories, institutions and other dental healthcare providers across North America.

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