Shares of Acuity Brands Inc (NYSE:AYI) have earned an average recommendation of “Buy” from the seventeen research firms that are currently covering the stock, Marketbeat.com reports. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, four have given a hold recommendation and eleven have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average 1-year target price among brokers that have covered the stock in the last year is $220.64.

AYI has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered Acuity Brands from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, March 27th. Canaccord Genuity reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Acuity Brands in a report on Tuesday, March 28th. Roth Capital reiterated a “sell” rating and issued a $150.00 price objective on shares of Acuity Brands in a report on Friday, March 31st. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) downgraded Acuity Brands from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and decreased their price objective for the stock from $256.00 to $186.00 in a report on Wednesday, April 5th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG decreased their price objective on Acuity Brands from $275.00 to $245.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, April 5th.

Acuity Brands (NYSE AYI) traded up 0.42% during midday trading on Monday, reaching $206.13. 82,412 shares of the company traded hands. Acuity Brands has a one year low of $157.33 and a one year high of $280.89. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $186.57 and its 200 day moving average is $194.46. The company has a market capitalization of $8.88 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.75 and a beta of 1.42.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 29th. The electronics maker reported $2.15 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.03 by $0.12. Acuity Brands had a return on equity of 19.89% and a net margin of 9.04%. The company had revenue of $891.60 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $878.66 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $2.06 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 4.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Acuity Brands will post $8.31 earnings per share for the current year.

Acuity Brands declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, June 29th that authorizes the company to buyback 2,000,000 shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the electronics maker to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, July 18th will be issued a dividend of $0.13 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, July 14th. This represents a $0.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.25%. Acuity Brands’s payout ratio is presently 7.24%.

In other news, Director Peter C. Browning sold 970 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $200.05, for a total transaction of $194,048.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 1,000 shares in the company, valued at $200,050. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Mark A. Black sold 5,427 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $205.29, for a total value of $1,114,108.83. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.40% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 2,916.1% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,776,299 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $770,366,000 after buying an additional 3,651,096 shares during the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 36.0% in the first quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,380,043 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $281,526,000 after buying an additional 365,466 shares during the last quarter. Villere ST Denis J & Co. LLC bought a new position in shares of Acuity Brands during the first quarter valued at $71,570,000. TimesSquare Capital Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Acuity Brands during the first quarter valued at $65,928,000. Finally, NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V. increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 81,594.7% in the first quarter. NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V. now owns 245,084 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $49,996,000 after buying an additional 244,784 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 95.15% of the company’s stock.

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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.

Analyst Recommendations for Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI)

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