Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE:AYI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Acuity Brands, Inc. is comprised of the Acuity Lighting Group and Acuity Specialty Products. The Acuity Lighting Group is the world’s largest lighting fixture manufacturer and includes brands such as Lithonia Lighting, Holophane, Peerless, and Hydrel. Acuity Specialty Products is a leading provider of specialty chemicals and includes brands such as Zep, Enforcer, and Selig. “

A number of other analysts have also weighed in on AYI. Deutsche Bank AG started coverage on shares of Acuity Brands in a research report on Tuesday, November 22nd. They issued a “buy” rating and a $300.00 target price on the stock. Cowen and Company set a $285.00 price target on shares of Acuity Brands and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, November 29th. JMP Securities started coverage on shares of Acuity Brands in a report on Thursday, December 8th. They set an “underperform” rating and a $200.00 price target on the stock. Robert W. Baird lowered shares of Acuity Brands from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and cut their price target for the stock from $272.00 to $265.00 in a report on Tuesday, December 20th. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $295.00 price target on shares of Acuity Brands in a report on Thursday, December 22nd. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $255.25.

Analyst Recommendations for Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI)

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Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) traded down 1.01% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $206.23. 364,860 shares of the company were exchanged. Acuity Brands has a 12-month low of $193.06 and a 12-month high of $280.89. The company’s 50-day moving average is $211.11 and its 200 day moving average is $235.02. The company has a market capitalization of $9.03 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.80 and a beta of 1.33.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last issued its earnings results on Monday, January 9th. The company reported $2.00 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.16 by $0.16. Acuity Brands had a net margin of 8.93% and a return on equity of 20.71%. The company earned $821.20 million during the quarter. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.65 EPS. Acuity Brands’s quarterly revenue was up 15.6% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Acuity Brands will post $8.74 EPS for the current year.

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In related news, Director Ray M. Robinson sold 1,100 shares of Acuity Brands stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $206.19, for a total transaction of $226,809.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 1,307 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $269,490.33. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 1.40% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in AYI. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 0.3% in the third quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 2,794,946 shares of the company’s stock worth $739,543,000 after buying an additional 9,552 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 20.6% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 2,703,383 shares of the company’s stock worth $624,102,000 after buying an additional 461,571 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 11.4% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,923,652 shares of the company’s stock worth $444,080,000 after buying an additional 196,382 shares in the last quarter. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 10.9% in the fourth quarter. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership now owns 1,492,446 shares of the company’s stock worth $344,546,000 after buying an additional 146,722 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 3.2% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 1,180,908 shares of the company’s stock worth $312,468,000 after buying an additional 36,549 shares in the last quarter. 91.28% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Acuity Brands

Acuity Brands, Inc is a provider of lighting solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications throughout North America and other international markets. The Company operates through North American segment. The Company offers a portfolio of indoor and outdoor lighting and building management solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications.

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