Medifast (NYSE:MED) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Saturday. The firm currently has a $81.00 price objective on the specialty retailer’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 11.19% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Medifast is a leading manufacturer and distributor of clinically proven healthy living products and programs. It is the brand recommended by more than 20,000 Doctors. Medifast produces, distributes, and sells weight loss and other health-related products through websites, multi-level marketing, telemarketing, franchised weight loss clinics, and medical professionals. The company launched OPTAVIA, an exclusive brand and product line sold through its community of independent Coaches who offer support and guidance to their Clients. In partnership with OPTAVIA Coaches , franchise partners, resellers and its Scientific Advisory Board, Medifast offers comprehensive wellness products and programs that focus on creating sustainable change by helping people learn to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. “

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on the company. DA Davidson lifted their target price on Medifast from $65.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, September 15th. ValuEngine downgraded Medifast from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, December 1st. Finally, Sidoti restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $55.00 target price (up from $49.00) on shares of Medifast in a research note on Thursday, September 21st. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Medifast currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $75.00.

Shares of Medifast (NYSE MED) traded up $0.69 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $72.85. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 76,314 shares, compared to its average volume of 87,776. Medifast has a 12 month low of $40.00 and a 12 month high of $74.78. The firm has a market capitalization of $861.13, a P/E ratio of 35.89, a P/E/G ratio of 1.85 and a beta of 0.50.

Medifast (NYSE:MED) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, November 7th. The specialty retailer reported $0.55 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.51 by $0.04. Medifast had a return on equity of 24.07% and a net margin of 8.58%. The company had revenue of $77.20 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $74.94 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.51 earnings per share. Medifast’s quarterly revenue was up 12.5% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts forecast that Medifast will post 2.17 EPS for the current year.

In other news, Director Glenn W. Welling sold 275,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.60, for a total transaction of $17,765,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director Glenn W. Welling sold 250,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total value of $16,250,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 6.47% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MED. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Medifast by 0.6% during the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 42,990 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $1,783,000 after buying an additional 247 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc boosted its position in shares of Medifast by 12.3% during the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 20,572 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $853,000 after buying an additional 2,251 shares during the period. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its position in shares of Medifast by 86.2% during the second quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 4,189 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $174,000 after buying an additional 1,939 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Medifast by 8.1% during the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 20,912 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $867,000 after buying an additional 1,563 shares during the period. Finally, Swiss National Bank boosted its position in shares of Medifast by 13.7% during the second quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 16,600 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $688,000 after buying an additional 2,000 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 86.91% of the company’s stock.

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About Medifast

Medifast, Inc produces, distributes and sells weight loss, weight management, and healthy living products, and other consumable health and nutritional products. The Company’s product lines include weight loss, weight management, and healthy living meal replacements, snacks, hydration products, and vitamins.

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