Acuity Brands Inc (NYSE:AYI) was the target of unusually large options trading activity on Friday. Stock investors purchased 262 put options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 254% compared to the typical daily volume of 74 put options.

A number of research firms have issued reports on AYI. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Acuity Brands from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, August 11th. Wells Fargo & Company downgraded shares of Acuity Brands from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and cut their target price for the company from $225.00 to $185.00 in a research report on Friday, September 15th. JMP Securities upgraded shares of Acuity Brands from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $183.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, October 3rd. KeyCorp began coverage on shares of Acuity Brands in a research report on Friday, October 13th. They set a “sector weight” rating on the stock. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Acuity Brands from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 19th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $197.17.

Shares of Acuity Brands (AYI) opened at $157.99 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21, a current ratio of 2.07 and a quick ratio of 1.53. The company has a market capitalization of $6,660.00, a PE ratio of 19.80, a PEG ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 1.44. Acuity Brands has a 52 week low of $153.28 and a 52 week high of $257.94.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 4th. The electronics maker reported $2.55 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.30 by $0.25. The company had revenue of $957.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $975.05 million. Acuity Brands had a return on equity of 20.47% and a net margin of 9.18%. Acuity Brands’s revenue was up 3.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $2.21 EPS. sell-side analysts predict that Acuity Brands will post 8.66 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, October 18th were paid a $0.13 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, October 17th. This represents a $0.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.33%. Acuity Brands’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 7.00%.

In related news, EVP Mark A. Black sold 7,441 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $161.32, for a total transaction of $1,200,382.12. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 30,649 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,944,296.68. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 1.40% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Eagle Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Acuity Brands by 2.1% in the 2nd quarter. Eagle Asset Management Inc. now owns 366,528 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $74,507,000 after acquiring an additional 7,657 shares during the last quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company increased its stake in shares of Acuity Brands by 3.5% in the 2nd quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 51,934 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $10,557,000 after acquiring an additional 1,745 shares during the last quarter. Peloton Wealth Strategists bought a new stake in shares of Acuity Brands in the 2nd quarter valued at about $1,235,000. Handelsbanken Fonder AB increased its stake in shares of Acuity Brands by 22.8% in the 3rd quarter. Handelsbanken Fonder AB now owns 53,916 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $9,235,000 after acquiring an additional 10,000 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. bought a new stake in Acuity Brands during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $384,000.

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About Acuity Brands

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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