Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Yum! Brands has performed relatively well in the domestic and many key international markets. Following China business spin-off, Yum! Brands’ endeavors to drive growth by employing greater focus on the development of its three iconic global brands, increasing its franchise ownership, and creating a leaner, more efficient cost structure, bode well. In fact, its shares have also outpaced the industry ever since the separation. Meanwhile, enhanced focus on bold restaurant development should further drive growth. Also, increased investments in technology-based initiatives are expected to drive comps in the coming quarters. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters and estimates too have been stable ahead of its third quarter earnings release. Yet, continual underperformance of the Pizza Hut U.S. division, macroeconomic concerns coupled with negative currency translation raises concern.”

Other research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. UBS AG upped their price objective on shares of Yum! Brands from $76.00 to $83.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 4th. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “buy” rating and issued a $83.00 price objective on shares of Yum! Brands in a report on Friday, August 4th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Yum! Brands from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, July 1st. Cowen and Company restated a “buy” rating and issued a $85.00 price objective on shares of Yum! Brands in a report on Friday, September 8th. Finally, Argus restated a “buy” rating and issued a $88.00 price objective (up from $80.00) on shares of Yum! Brands in a report on Wednesday, August 23rd. Eleven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have issued a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Yum! Brands has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $79.34.

Yum! Brands (NYSE YUM) traded down 0.19% on Tuesday, hitting $75.41. 665,269 shares of the stock were exchanged. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $75.64 and a 200 day moving average price of $73.02. Yum! Brands has a 1-year low of $59.43 and a 1-year high of $78.14. The company has a market capitalization of $26.00 billion, a PE ratio of 20.02 and a beta of 0.81.

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 3rd. The restaurant operator reported $0.68 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.61 by $0.07. Yum! Brands had a net margin of 16.76% and a negative return on equity of 24.95%. The business had revenue of $1.45 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.42 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.75 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts anticipate that Yum! Brands will post $2.81 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, CFO David W. Gibbs sold 8,336 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.00, for a total value of $616,864.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 39,664 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,935,136. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.65% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Yum! Brands by 2,392.9% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 20,053,997 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,281,452,000 after buying an additional 19,249,564 shares during the last quarter. Norges Bank purchased a new position in shares of Yum! Brands in the fourth quarter valued at $244,932,000. Morgan Stanley grew its holdings in shares of Yum! Brands by 82.4% in the first quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 4,757,237 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $303,987,000 after purchasing an additional 2,148,751 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC grew its holdings in shares of Yum! Brands by 208.6% in the first quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 2,625,400 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $167,763,000 after purchasing an additional 1,774,600 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Emerging Sovereign Group LLC grew its holdings in shares of Yum! Brands by 78.3% in the fourth quarter. Emerging Sovereign Group LLC now owns 3,479,461 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $254,175,000 after purchasing an additional 1,528,300 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 71.99% of the company’s stock.

About Yum! Brands

YUM! Brands, Inc is engaged in restaurant business. As of December 31, 2016, the Company operated or franchised over 43,500 restaurants in more than 135 countries and territories operating under the KFC, Pizza Hut or Taco Bell (collectively the Concepts) brands. The Company operates through three segments: The KFC Division, which includes the operations of the KFC concept around the world; The Pizza Hut Division, which includes the operations of the Pizza Hut concept around the world, and The Taco Bell Division, which includes the operations of the Taco Bell concept around the world.

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Analyst Recommendations for Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM)

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