Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Over the last year, Walgreens has been trading above the broader industry. The company finally gaining approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the modified deal involving purchase of a number of Rite Aid (RAD) store buoys optimism. Although investors did not show much optimism regarding the company’s purchase of fewer-than-expected stores, we believe the deal’s financial outcome is pretty attractive. Moreover, this modified merger contract is expected to extend Walgreens’ growth strategy and offer additional operational benefits. We are also upbeat about Walgreens’ ‘Next Chapter plan’ through fiscal 2017 focusing on a multi-faceted cost-reduction initiative across the enterprise. On the flip side, slowdown in generic introduction continues to weigh upon the company’s margins. Also, tough competitive landscapes along with currency fluctuations continue to pose threats for the company.”

Several other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. BidaskClub cut shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Monday. Raymond James Financial, Inc. reaffirmed a “market perform” rating on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Wednesday, September 27th. Royal Bank Of Canada assumed coverage on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Tuesday, September 19th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $96.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Needham & Company LLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $94.00 price objective on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Saturday, September 16th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Walgreens Boots Alliance presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $91.94.

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ WBA) traded up 1.48% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $76.95. The stock had a trading volume of 4,622,724 shares. The firm has a market cap of $82.34 billion, a PE ratio of 19.43 and a beta of 1.25. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $80.34 and its 200 day moving average is $81.26. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a 12 month low of $75.18 and a 12 month high of $89.69.

Walgreens Boots Alliance announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase plan on Thursday, June 29th that allows the company to repurchase $5.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the pharmacy operator to repurchase up to 5.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

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In other news, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.79, for a total value of $218,305.44. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 19,151 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,528,058.29. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 13.50% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of WBA. Franklin Resources Inc. increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 24.7% during the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 18,502,701 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $1,448,939,000 after acquiring an additional 3,662,302 shares during the period. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 471.4% during the second quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 3,295,583 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $258,077,000 after acquiring an additional 2,718,800 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 2.8% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 69,985,653 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $5,480,577,000 after acquiring an additional 1,926,108 shares during the period. Nordea Investment Management AB increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 26.5% during the first quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 9,154,328 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $760,267,000 after acquiring an additional 1,917,082 shares during the period. Finally, Wellington Management Group LLP increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 5.9% during the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 32,846,862 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $2,727,932,000 after acquiring an additional 1,824,300 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 60.16% of the company’s stock.

About Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).

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