Central Garden & Pet Co. (NASDAQ:CENT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.
According to Zacks, “Organic growth, value accretive acquisitions such as that of the pet bedding business, and divestment of non-strategic assets have been aiding Central Garden & Pet’s performance. These initiatives have helped the company to post better-than-expected earnings for the eighth successive quarter, when it reported third-quarter fiscal 2016 results. The company’s top line also surpassed the estimate, thus marking the fifth straight quarter of revenue beat. In fact, the stellar performance in the reported quarter prompted management to raise its earnings outlook for the fiscal year. The company is revamping both its Pet and Garden segments, and also intends to have a balanced approach that encompasses improvement in revenues and profits through operational efficiency as cost reduction. On the flip side, stiff competition and seasonality of garden business remains a concern.”
Several other equities analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. SunTrust Banks Inc. upgraded shares of Central Garden & Pet Co. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, June 16th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. restated a “market perform” rating on shares of Central Garden & Pet Co. in a report on Friday, August 26th. Finally, Sidoti started coverage on shares of Central Garden & Pet Co. in a report on Wednesday, August 17th. They set a “neutral” rating for the company. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $22.50.
Shares of Central Garden & Pet Co. (NASDAQ:CENT) traded down 0.04% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $25.64. 103,855 shares of the company traded hands. Central Garden & Pet Co. has a 12 month low of $11.67 and a 12 month high of $27.89. The company’s 50 day moving average is $25.40 and its 200-day moving average is $21.37. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.30 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.27 and a beta of 0.63.
Central Garden & Pet Co. (NASDAQ:CENT) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.48 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.43 by $0.05. Central Garden & Pet Co. had a net margin of 2.54% and a return on equity of 11.04%. The firm earned $514.54 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $490.85 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.38 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.0% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts forecast that Central Garden & Pet Co. will post $1.17 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
In related news, Director Brooks Pennington III sold 4,616 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $22.43, for a total value of $103,536.88. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 69,605 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,561,240.15. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman William E. Brown sold 14,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $24.48, for a total transaction of $347,616.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 2,224,293 shares in the company, valued at $54,450,692.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 13.90% of the company’s stock.
Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. FMR LLC bought a new stake in Central Garden & Pet Co. during the second quarter valued at about $6,865,000. BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its stake in Central Garden & Pet Co. by 64.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 650,701 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,856,000 after buying an additional 253,957 shares in the last quarter. Royce & Associates LP boosted its stake in Central Garden & Pet Co. by 30.5% in the first quarter. Royce & Associates LP now owns 864,545 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,127,000 after buying an additional 201,869 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its stake in Central Garden & Pet Co. by 450.8% in the second quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 191,201 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,365,000 after buying an additional 156,486 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Axiom International Investors LLC DE bought a new stake in Central Garden & Pet Co. during the second quarter valued at about $3,287,000. 19.02% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Central Garden & Pet Co.
Central Garden & Pet Company is a marketer and producer of branded products, and distributor of third party products to pet, and lawn and garden supplies industries. The Company’s segments are Pet and Garden. Its Pet segment is engaged in the manufacturing, purchase, sale and delivery of internally and externally produced pet supplies, books and food to independent pet distributors, national and regional retail chains, grocery stores, mass merchants and bookstores.
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