Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday.
According to Zacks, “Walgreens Boots reported an impressive first quarter of fiscal 2018. We are encouraged by the increase in sales at the Retail Pharmacy International. Moreover, Walgreens Boots has been gaining on account of strategic tie-ups, which brought more patients to its U.S. pharmacies. We are particularly upbeat about the limited number of Rite Aid stores acquisition deal for which the company got regulatory approval recently. Also, we are upbeat about the company expanding global footprint with its decision to acquire a 40% stake in Sinopharm Holding Guoda Drugstores in China which should provide a strong impetus to Walgreens Boots’ worldwide retail pharmacy business. Accordingly, over the past three months, Walgreens Boots has been trading above the broader industry. However, declining sales at the Retail Pharmacy was a disappointment. The company faces tough competition along with currency fluctuations.”
A number of other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. Morgan Stanley cut Walgreens Boots Alliance from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and decreased their target price for the stock from $95.00 to $85.00 in a research report on Friday, October 6th. BidaskClub raised Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, November 10th. Vetr raised Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 12th. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $80.00 target price (down previously from $90.00) on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Thursday, October 19th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Citigroup decreased their target price on Walgreens Boots Alliance from $95.00 to $81.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, November 2nd. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fourteen have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $86.35.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 4th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.28 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $30.74 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $30.39 billion. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a return on equity of 19.15% and a net margin of 3.19%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 7.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.10 EPS. analysts predict that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post 5.71 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Walgreens Boots Alliance announced that its board has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday, October 25th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the pharmacy operator to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.
In other news, insider Stefano Pessina bought 98,858 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 15th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $76.07 per share, for a total transaction of $7,520,128.06. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.37, for a total value of $184,324.32. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 16,415 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,105,878.55. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 14.80% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 2.8% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 69,985,653 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $5,480,577,000 after acquiring an additional 1,926,108 shares in the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. raised its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 24.7% during the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 18,502,701 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $1,448,939,000 after acquiring an additional 3,662,302 shares in the last quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB raised its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 1.0% during the third quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 10,182,388 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $786,284,000 after acquiring an additional 96,552 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 12.5% during the third quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 6,641,826 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $512,893,000 after acquiring an additional 735,917 shares in the last quarter. Finally, CI Global Investments Inc. raised its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 4.8% during the second quarter. CI Global Investments Inc. now owns 5,931,592 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $464,503,000 after acquiring an additional 270,182 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 61.15% of the company’s stock.
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Walgreens Boots Alliance Company Profile
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).
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