Acuity Brands Inc (NYSE:AYI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Acuity Brands lost 27.3% so far this year. Acuity Brands operates in a highly competitive industry that is affected by volatility owing to a number of general business and economic factors. Higher spending on research and development of energy efficient lighting products may dent margins and thereby the bottom line of the company. Gross profit margin in the last quarter decreased 200 basis points year over year. The company’s profits in the last quarter were adversely impacted by higher-than-normal supply chain costs, including increased quality expenses and inbound freight charges.”

AYI has been the topic of a number of other reports. BidaskClub cut Acuity Brands from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, August 11th. Wells Fargo & Company cut Acuity Brands from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and reduced their price objective for the company from $225.00 to $185.00 in a research note on Friday. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $206.00 price objective (down from $210.00) on shares of Acuity Brands in a research note on Monday, June 19th. Deutsche Bank AG raised their price objective on Acuity Brands from $215.00 to $245.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 30th. Finally, Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $215.00 price objective on shares of Acuity Brands in a research note on Friday, June 30th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $216.53.

Shares of Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) traded down 6.06% on Tuesday, reaching $157.66. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,578,307 shares. Acuity Brands has a 12 month low of $153.28 and a 12 month high of $267.08. The firm has a market cap of $6.79 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.99 and a beta of 1.42. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $183.22 and a 200-day moving average of $186.26.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last released its earnings results on Thursday, June 29th. The electronics maker reported $2.15 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.03 by $0.12. Acuity Brands had a return on equity of 19.89% and a net margin of 9.04%. The business had revenue of $891.60 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $878.66 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $2.06 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 4.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts anticipate that Acuity Brands will post $8.33 EPS for the current year.

Acuity Brands announced that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Thursday, June 29th that permits the company to buyback 2,000,000 shares. This buyback authorization permits the electronics maker to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Sentry Investment Management LLC lifted its holdings in Acuity Brands by 1.1% in the second quarter. Sentry Investment Management LLC now owns 3,301 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $671,000 after buying an additional 35 shares during the period. Toronto Dominion Bank lifted its holdings in Acuity Brands by 25.6% in the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 14,940 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $3,037,000 after buying an additional 3,044 shares during the period. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd lifted its holdings in Acuity Brands by 301.6% in the second quarter. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd now owns 7,630 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $1,551,000 after buying an additional 5,730 shares during the period. Bank of Nova Scotia lifted its holdings in Acuity Brands by 260.6% in the second quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 39,940 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $8,118,000 after buying an additional 28,863 shares during the period. Finally, Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C lifted its holdings in Acuity Brands by 19.6% in the second quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C now owns 1,413,636 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $287,363,000 after buying an additional 231,406 shares during the period.

Acuity Brands Company Profile

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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Analyst Recommendations for Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI)

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