Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Whirlpool has underperformed the sector in the past three months due to its dismal earnings surprise trend in the recent quarters. Evidently, the company delivered fourth consecutive negative surprise in second-quarter 2017. Further, the company slashed its earnings guidance for 2017 due to higher raw material costs and lower product price/mix in China and Europe. However, Whirlpool has been riding on its innovation strategy that helps it to tap additional sales and gain market share. Moreover, the company's solid integration and cost-productivity activities have been enhancing its performance. These factors, along with the company’s robust brands portfolio, and continued strength across North America and Latin America have been its growth drivers. Also, the company anticipates profitable growth in the EMEA region in the second half of 2017 and expects to navigate through the volatility in emerging markets.”

A number of other analysts have also commented on WHR. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “top pick” rating and set a $216.00 price target (down from $226.00) on shares of Whirlpool Corporation in a research note on Tuesday, June 20th. Credit Suisse Group initiated coverage on Whirlpool Corporation in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. They set a “neutral” rating and a $208.00 price target on the stock. BidaskClub lowered Whirlpool Corporation from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 25th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered Whirlpool Corporation from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, September 1st. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $193.17.

Whirlpool Corporation (WHR) traded down 1.28% on Thursday, reaching $183.44. 1,388,037 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Whirlpool Corporation has a 52 week low of $145.91 and a 52 week high of $202.99. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $173.91 and its 200 day moving average is $180.23. The company has a market cap of $13.39 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.36 and a beta of 1.76.

Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The company reported $3.35 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $3.54 by ($0.19). Whirlpool Corporation had a net margin of 3.61% and a return on equity of 18.17%. The firm had revenue of $5.35 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.35 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $3.50 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Whirlpool Corporation will post $14.64 earnings per share for the current year.

Whirlpool Corporation declared that its board has approved a share buyback program on Wednesday, July 26th that authorizes the company to repurchase $2.35 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to purchase up to 16.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

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In related news, Director William D. Perez acquired 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 31st. The shares were bought at an average cost of $176.93 per share, with a total value of $176,930.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 7,239 shares in the company, valued at $1,280,796.27. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. 2.69% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of WHR. Dupont Capital Management Corp acquired a new position in shares of Whirlpool Corporation in the second quarter worth approximately $100,000. Sun Life Financial INC lifted its stake in shares of Whirlpool Corporation by 7,628.6% in the second quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 541 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after acquiring an additional 534 shares during the period. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. lifted its stake in shares of Whirlpool Corporation by 26.5% in the second quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 644 shares of the company’s stock worth $123,000 after acquiring an additional 135 shares during the period. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Whirlpool Corporation in the second quarter worth approximately $153,000. Finally, Global X Management Co. LLC lifted its stake in shares of Whirlpool Corporation by 33.1% in the first quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 989 shares of the company’s stock worth $169,000 after acquiring an additional 246 shares during the period. 91.47% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Whirlpool Corporation

Whirlpool Corporation is a manufacturer and marketer of home appliances. The Company’s segments include North America; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); Latin America, and Asia. In North America, the Company markets and distributes home appliances and small domestic appliances under a range of brand names.

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