Pinnacle Foods (PF) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Sell

Pinnacle Foods (NYSE:PF) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Pinnacle Foods’ focus on achieving growth via buyouts has been driving results for quite some time. Also, the company, which has surpassed the industry over a year, has been gaining from productivity initiatives. These factors helped the company post solid third-quarter 2017 results even amid hurdles related to Aunt Jemima’s exit; shutdown of Boulder UK operations, SKU rationalization program and impacts from hurricanes. Both earnings and sales topped estimates and bottom line retained its robust year-over-year growth trend. However, the aforementioned obstacles dented the top line, and the Specialty Foods unit continued to be challenged in the third quarter. Also, high marketing expenses and input cost inflation remain concerns.  Despite the current barriers, management expects 2017 earnings to jump 19% year over year. Well, estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company's fourth quarter earnings release.”

Several other research firms have also recently commented on PF. Credit Suisse Group set a $67.00 target price on Pinnacle Foods and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Buckingham Research reduced their target price on Pinnacle Foods from $68.00 to $62.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, October 27th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $65.27.

Pinnacle Foods (PF) traded up $0.30 during trading on Tuesday, reaching $58.44. The company had a trading volume of 658,492 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,377,271. Pinnacle Foods has a twelve month low of $52.81 and a twelve month high of $66.67. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.49, a quick ratio of 0.81 and a current ratio of 1.80. The stock has a market capitalization of $7,148.11, a PE ratio of 39.49, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.73 and a beta of 0.34.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP bought a new stake in shares of Pinnacle Foods in the 2nd quarter valued at about $26,730,000. Jana Partners LLC lifted its stake in shares of Pinnacle Foods by 49.8% in the 3rd quarter. Jana Partners LLC now owns 1,148,898 shares of the company’s stock valued at $65,682,000 after acquiring an additional 381,778 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Pinnacle Foods by 11.8% in the 3rd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 3,226,031 shares of the company’s stock valued at $184,433,000 after acquiring an additional 340,654 shares during the last quarter. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. lifted its stake in shares of Pinnacle Foods by 47.7% in the 3rd quarter. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. now owns 982,033 shares of the company’s stock valued at $56,143,000 after acquiring an additional 316,944 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Sit Investment Associates Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Pinnacle Foods by 1,202.3% in the 4th quarter. Sit Investment Associates Inc. now owns 325,900 shares of the company’s stock valued at $19,381,000 after acquiring an additional 300,875 shares during the last quarter. 95.30% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Pinnacle Foods

Pinnacle Foods Inc is a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of branded food products in North America. The Company operates through four segments: Frozen segment, the Grocery segment, the Boulder segment and the Specialty segment. Its products are sold through supermarkets, grocery wholesalers and distributors, mass merchandisers, super centers, convenience stores, dollar stores, drug stores and warehouse clubs in the United States and Canada, as well as in military channels and foodservice locations.

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