Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) saw unusually large options trading activity on Wednesday. Investors acquired 28,854 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 225% compared to the average volume of 8,883 call options.

WFM has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. Wells Fargo & Company reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Whole Foods Market in a research note on Monday, April 10th. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $36.00 price objective on shares of Whole Foods Market in a research note on Wednesday, April 5th. Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $38.00 price objective (up from $28.00) on shares of Whole Foods Market in a research note on Thursday, May 11th. UBS AG raised shares of Whole Foods Market from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $42.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, July 10th. Finally, Barclays PLC raised shares of Whole Foods Market from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $38.00 to $48.00 in a research note on Friday, June 16th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-two have assigned a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $37.42.

In other Whole Foods Market news, insider Juan Nunez sold 14,502 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, May 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $27.52, for a total transaction of $399,095.04. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 5,746 shares in the company, valued at $158,129.92. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Angela Lorenzen sold 1,431 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, May 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.34, for a total transaction of $52,002.54. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 1,131 shares in the company, valued at approximately $41,100.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 18,466 shares of company stock worth $543,688 in the last 90 days. 1.30% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 1.6% in the first quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 143,522 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,265,000 after buying an additional 2,300 shares in the last quarter. Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH raised its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 16.8% in the first quarter. Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH now owns 512,229 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,938,000 after buying an additional 73,498 shares in the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 17.1% in the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 37,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,138,000 after buying an additional 5,400 shares in the last quarter. Everence Capital Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Whole Foods Market during the first quarter worth $383,000. Finally, IFP Advisors Inc raised its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 52.5% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 17,547 shares of the company’s stock worth $522,000 after buying an additional 6,044 shares in the last quarter. 89.58% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ WFM) opened at 41.71 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $13.33 billion, a PE ratio of 33.21 and a beta of 0.82. Whole Foods Market has a 52 week low of $27.67 and a 52 week high of $43.84. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $40.01 and its 200-day moving average is $34.10.

Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, May 10th. The company reported $0.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.37. The business had revenue of $3.74 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.73 billion. Whole Foods Market had a return on equity of 13.72% and a net margin of 2.54%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 99.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.44 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts predict that Whole Foods Market will post $1.30 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, July 11th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 30th were issued a $0.18 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, June 28th. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.73%. This is a positive change from Whole Foods Market’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. Whole Foods Market’s payout ratio is presently 57.14%.

Whole Foods Market declared that its board has initiated a share buyback plan on Wednesday, May 10th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.25 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 10.8% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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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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