Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Acuity Brands is a leading player in the North American nonresidential lighting fixture market, courtesy of its Lithonia brand. The company is focused on capitalizing opportunities by continuously expanding and leveraging on its lighting and building management solutions. Also, the company’s extensive market presence and financial strength are major positives. The company expects the North American lighting market to return to growth in fiscal 2018. However, Acuity Brands operates in a highly competitive industry that is affected by volatility owing to a number of general business and economic factors. Higher spending on research and development of energy efficient lighting products may dent margins and thereby the bottom line of the company. Meanwhile, shares of Acuity Brands lost 24.8% so far this year.”

AYI has been the topic of several other research reports. Wells Fargo & Company lowered shares of Acuity Brands from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and lowered their price target for the company from $225.00 to $185.00 in a report on Friday, September 15th. KeyCorp initiated coverage on shares of Acuity Brands in a report on Friday, October 13th. They issued a “sector weight” rating on the stock. BidaskClub lowered shares of Acuity Brands from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Saturday, August 26th. JMP Securities raised shares of Acuity Brands from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $183.00 price target on the stock in a report on Tuesday, October 3rd. Finally, Roth Capital set a $130.00 price target on shares of Acuity Brands and gave the company a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Acuity Brands currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $197.17.

Shares of Acuity Brands (NYSE AYI) traded up $1.97 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $173.62. 815,100 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 715,035. Acuity Brands has a fifty-two week low of $153.28 and a fifty-two week high of $250.14. The company has a market capitalization of $7,320.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.51, a P/E/G ratio of 1.80 and a beta of 1.43. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21, a current ratio of 2.07 and a quick ratio of 1.53.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, October 4th. The electronics maker reported $2.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.30 by $0.25. The business had revenue of $957.60 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $975.05 million. Acuity Brands had a net margin of 9.18% and a return on equity of 20.47%. Acuity Brands’s revenue was up 3.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $2.21 earnings per share. equities analysts anticipate that Acuity Brands will post 8.66 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, EVP Mark A. Black sold 7,441 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, November 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $161.32, for a total value of $1,200,382.12. Following the sale, 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 Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 1.50% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in Acuity Brands by 12.8% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,260,836 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $866,145,000 after buying an additional 484,537 shares in the last quarter. Standard Life Investments LTD lifted its position in Acuity Brands by 24.9% during the 2nd quarter. Standard Life Investments LTD now owns 1,786,392 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $363,146,000 after purchasing an additional 356,199 shares during the period. American Century Companies Inc. lifted its position in Acuity Brands by 68.1% during the 3rd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 779,190 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $133,460,000 after purchasing an additional 315,610 shares during the period. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C lifted its position in Acuity Brands by 19.6% during the 2nd quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C now owns 1,413,636 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $287,363,000 after purchasing an additional 231,406 shares during the period. Finally, Alyeska Investment Group L.P. lifted its position in Acuity Brands by 34.3% during the 3rd quarter. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. now owns 886,653 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $151,866,000 after purchasing an additional 226,605 shares during the period.

COPYRIGHT VIOLATION WARNING: This news story was reported by American Banking News and is the sole property of of American Banking News. If you are accessing this news story on another domain, it was illegally stolen and republished in violation of international copyright laws. The legal version of this news story can be read at https://www.americanbankingnews.com/2017/12/12/acuity-brands-ayi-raised-to-hold-at-zacks-investment-research.html.

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.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Acuity Brands (AYI)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI)

Receive News & Ratings for Acuity Brands Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Acuity Brands and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.