Central Garden & Pet Company (NASDAQ:CENT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Central Garden & Pet outpaced the industry in the past one year, primarily owing to 12 consecutive quarters of earnings beat. Moreover, the company’s top-line has also surpassed our estimate for the third straight quarter, when it posted third-quarter fiscal 2017 results. We note that both the top and bottom lines grew 11.7% and 21.6%, respectively.  Robust financial numbers prompted management to provide an upbeat adjusted earnings per share projection for the fiscal year. Organic growth, value accretive acquisitions and divestment of non-strategic assets have been aiding Central Garden & Pet’s performance. Moreover, the company is revamping both its Pet and Garden segments, and intends to possess a balanced approach that encompasses improvement in revenues and profits through operational efficiency as well as cost reduction. However, stiff competition and seasonality of garden business remains a concern.”

Other analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Argus started coverage on Central Garden & Pet in a report on Wednesday, April 19th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $44.00 price target for the company. Sidoti upgraded Central Garden & Pet from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, June 19th. CL King started coverage on Central Garden & Pet in a report on Friday, July 7th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $38.00 price target for the company. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Central Garden & Pet in a report on Tuesday, June 20th. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded Central Garden & Pet from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, June 10th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $39.50.

Central Garden & Pet (NASDAQ CENT) traded down 1.64% on Friday, reaching $35.33. The company had a trading volume of 147,037 shares. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $32.02 and its 200 day moving average price is $33.93. Central Garden & Pet has a 52-week low of $22.97 and a 52-week high of $39.33. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.83 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.64 and a beta of 0.12.

Central Garden & Pet (NASDAQ:CENT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.62 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.51 by $0.11. Central Garden & Pet had a return on equity of 13.66% and a net margin of 3.49%. The firm had revenue of $574.59 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $544.26 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.48 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 11.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Central Garden & Pet will post $1.48 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other Central Garden & Pet news, insider Michael A. Reed sold 15,107 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $33.21, for a total value of $501,703.47. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 142,558 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,734,351.18. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director John Ranelli sold 6,825 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $32.00, for a total transaction of $218,400.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 47,489 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,519,648. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 82,382 shares of company stock valued at $2,613,603. 11.60% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its position in shares of Central Garden & Pet by 20.7% in the second quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 3,136 shares of the company’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 537 shares during the last quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Central Garden & Pet by 65.7% in the first quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 4,140 shares of the company’s stock valued at $153,000 after buying an additional 1,641 shares during the last quarter. Sei Investments Co. boosted its position in shares of Central Garden & Pet by 39.4% in the first quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 4,253 shares of the company’s stock valued at $158,000 after buying an additional 1,201 shares during the last quarter. Hartford Investment Management Co. bought a new position in shares of Central Garden & Pet during the first quarter valued at approximately $204,000. Finally, Thrivent Financial For Lutherans bought a new position in shares of Central Garden & Pet during the first quarter valued at approximately $212,000. 21.20% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Central Garden & Pet Company Profile

Central Garden & Pet Company is a marketer and producer of branded products and distributor of third party products in the pet and lawn and garden supplies industries in the United States. The Company operates in two segments: Pet segment and the Garden segment. It is a marketer and producer of pet supplies in the United States.

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