Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) was upgraded by equities research analysts at BMO Capital Markets from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report issued on Saturday. The firm currently has a $42.00 price objective on the stock, up from their previous price objective of $30.00. BMO Capital Markets’ price target points to a potential downside of 1.59% from the stock’s current price.

WFM has been the topic of several other research reports. TheStreet raised Whole Foods Market from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 1st. SunTrust Banks, Inc. reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Whole Foods Market in a research note on Tuesday, April 11th. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $40.00 price target (up previously from $36.00) on shares of Whole Foods Market in a research note on Tuesday, April 11th. Vetr lowered Whole Foods Market from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $38.12 price target on the stock. in a research note on Monday, April 10th. Finally, Gordon Haskett initiated coverage on Whole Foods Market in a research note on Tuesday, May 9th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $42.00 price target on the stock. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Whole Foods Market currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $35.92.

Analyst Recommendations for Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM)

Shares of Whole Foods Market (WFM) traded up 1.92% during trading on Friday, reaching $43.50. The company had a trading volume of 528,862 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $13.90 billion, a PE ratio of 34.63 and a beta of 0.88. Whole Foods Market has a 12 month low of $27.67 and a 12 month high of $43.64. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $35.95 and a 200 day moving average price of $32.29. Whole Foods Market also was the target of some unusual options trading on Friday. Stock traders purchased 22,023 put options on the company. This represents an increase of 749% compared to the average volume of 2,595 put options.

Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 10th. The company reported $0.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.37. The business had revenue of $3.74 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.73 billion. Whole Foods Market had a return on equity of 13.72% and a net margin of 2.54%. Whole Foods Market’s quarterly revenue was down 99.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.44 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Whole Foods Market will post $1.31 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, July 11th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 30th will be given a dividend of $0.18 per share. This is a boost from Whole Foods Market’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.69%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, June 28th. Whole Foods Market’s dividend payout ratio is currently 44.44%.

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In other news, insider Juan Nunez sold 14,502 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.52, for a total transaction of $399,095.04. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 5,746 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $158,129.92. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Angela Lorenzen sold 1,431 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, May 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.34, for a total value of $52,002.54. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 1,131 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $41,100.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 18,466 shares of company stock valued at $543,688 over the last ninety days. 1.30% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 3.6% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 30,861,862 shares of the company’s stock valued at $917,214,000 after buying an additional 1,081,667 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 3,657.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 26,099,592 shares of the company’s stock valued at $775,680,000 after buying an additional 25,404,982 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 5.0% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 14,541,942 shares of the company’s stock valued at $432,186,000 after buying an additional 689,865 shares during the period. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 1.6% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 8,595,894 shares of the company’s stock valued at $243,694,000 after buying an additional 137,648 shares during the period. Finally, Parnassus Investments CA boosted its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 29.2% in the first quarter. Parnassus Investments CA now owns 7,825,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $232,559,000 after buying an additional 1,770,000 shares during the period. 91.41% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Whole Foods Market Company Profile

Whole Foods Market, Inc is engaged in the business of natural and organic foods supermarket. The Company operates approximately 456 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Its stores have an average size of approximately 39,000 square feet, and are supported by its distribution centers, bake house facilities, commissary kitchens, seafood-processing facilities, a produce procurement center, and a specialty coffee and tea procurement and roasting operation, among others.

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