Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Starbucks’ shares have underperformed the industry year-to-date. The company has been experiencing tepid comps growth in the United States for quite a while now amid persistent decline in the country’s restaurant sales. Starbucks reported tepid 3% comps growth in the first nine months of fiscal 2017 against 6% in the year-ago period. The U.S. restaurant space has not been too enticing for investors for the last few quarters. Despite economic growth, consumers increased their spending only modestly on dining out, which resulted in low consumption over the last few quarters. That said, Starbucks is strengthening its portfolio with major innovations, best-in-class loyalty program and digital offerings to counter tepid sales growth. Although these initiatives might benefit it in the long run, the consequential increment in spending is likely to create pressure on its earnings in the near term.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on the stock. Cowen and Company restated a “buy” rating and issued a $63.00 price target on shares of Starbucks Corporation in a report on Friday, September 1st. Mizuho restated a “buy” rating and issued a $75.00 price target on shares of Starbucks Corporation in a report on Friday, September 29th. UBS AG set a $67.00 price target on shares of Starbucks Corporation and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, July 28th. Jefferies Group LLC restated an “average” rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Starbucks Corporation in a report on Friday, July 28th. Finally, Guggenheim lowered shares of Starbucks Corporation from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, July 28th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating, nineteen have given a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $64.24.

Shares of Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) traded up 1.28% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $55.21. 8,299,509 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The company has a market cap of $79.72 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.87 and a beta of 0.78. Starbucks Corporation has a 12-month low of $50.84 and a 12-month high of $64.87. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $54.67 and its 200 day moving average price is $57.66.

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The coffee company reported $0.55 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.55. Starbucks Corporation had a net margin of 12.93% and a return on equity of 52.82%. The company had revenue of $5.66 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.76 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.49 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.1% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts anticipate that Starbucks Corporation will post $2.06 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other Starbucks Corporation news, Director Jorgen Vig Knudstorp acquired 18,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 4th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $55.30 per share, with a total value of $995,400.00. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 18,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $995,400. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider John Culver sold 64,776 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.54, for a total transaction of $3,468,107.04. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 390,341 shares in the company, valued at $20,898,857.14. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 3.40% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Appropriate Balance Financial Services Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Starbucks Corporation by 1.6% in the 2nd quarter. Appropriate Balance Financial Services Inc. now owns 839 shares of the coffee company’s stock valued at $14,396,000 after acquiring an additional 13 shares during the last quarter. Jacobi Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Starbucks Corporation by 2.7% in the 1st quarter. Jacobi Capital Management LLC now owns 1,878 shares of the coffee company’s stock valued at $109,000 after acquiring an additional 50 shares during the last quarter. Gradient Investments LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Starbucks Corporation by 2.5% in the 2nd quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 1,911 shares of the coffee company’s stock valued at $111,000 after acquiring an additional 46 shares during the last quarter. Sharkey Howes & Javer boosted its holdings in shares of Starbucks Corporation by 8.5% in the 2nd quarter. Sharkey Howes & Javer now owns 1,924 shares of the coffee company’s stock valued at $112,000 after acquiring an additional 150 shares during the last quarter. Finally, IHT Wealth Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Starbucks Corporation by 10.2% in the 1st quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,012 shares of the coffee company’s stock valued at $117,000 after acquiring an additional 187 shares during the last quarter. 70.77% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Starbucks Corporation Company Profile

Starbucks Corporation (Starbucks) is a roaster, marketer and retailer of coffee. As of October 2, 2016, the Company operated in 75 countries. The Company operates through four segments: Americas, which is inclusive of the United States, Canada, and Latin America; China/Asia Pacific (CAP); Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and Channel Development.

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