Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) Raised to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Wednesday. The firm currently has a $76.00 target price on the pharmacy operator’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 11.29% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “We are encouraged by Walgreens Boots'  increase in sales at the Retail Pharmacy International. Moreover, the company's 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.”

Several other equities analysts also recently weighed in on WBA. Robert W. Baird restated an “outperform” rating and set a $80.00 target price (down from $90.00) on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a report on Thursday, October 19th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Pivotal Research lowered their price target on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from $85.00 to $73.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. Mizuho set a $94.00 price target on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $88.00 price target on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a report on Wednesday, October 25th. Finally, Loop Capital set a $90.00 price target on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $85.05.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ WBA) traded down $0.17 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $68.29. 6,791,500 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 5,977,443. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48, a current ratio of 0.96 and a quick ratio of 0.47. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a 52-week low of $63.82 and a 52-week high of $88.00. The stock has a market cap of $67,850.00, a P/E ratio of 18.86, a P/E/G ratio of 1.16 and a beta of 1.18.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, January 4th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.28 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.01. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a net margin of 3.19% and a return on equity of 19.15%. The firm had revenue of $30.74 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $30.39 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.10 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post 5.71 EPS for the current year.

Walgreens Boots Alliance announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Wednesday, October 25th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the pharmacy operator to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, insider Stefano Pessina bought 98,858 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 15th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $76.07 per share, with a total value of $7,520,128.06. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 14.80% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Hudock Capital Group LLC lifted its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.5% during the second quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,306 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 6 shares in the last quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. lifted its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 10.4% during the second quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,325 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 125 shares in the last quarter. Zions Bancorporation lifted its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 983.3% during the third quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 1,365 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $105,000 after buying an additional 1,239 shares in the last quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC lifted its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 46.3% during the second quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC now owns 6,946 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $135,000 after buying an additional 2,199 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bristlecone Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Walgreens Boots Alliance during the third quarter valued at approximately $135,000. 61.57% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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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