Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Monday morning. The firm currently has $90.00 target price on the pharmacy operator’s stock.
According to Zacks, “The proposed buyout of Rite Aid by Walgreens, which is still expected to close in the latter half of 2016, should expand the company’s business realm in the U.S. over the long term. Several recent strategic programs including skin product launch and vaccination program are also expected to boost the company’s growth in near future. Walgreens continues to hold a strong cash position, which is evident from its increased cash flow reserve in the last-reported third quarter. The company was successful in achieving its earlier target of combined net synergies of at least $1 billion in Jun 2016 on account of the legacy Walgreens’ merger with Alliance Boot. On the flip side, the company’s gross margin continued to deliver a bleak performance. The U.S. FTC’s recent update regarding the Walgreens store divestment, needed for the Rite Aid acquisition is another downside for the company’s business.”
A number of other equities research analysts have also weighed in on the company. Deutsche Bank AG restated a buy rating and set a $94.00 price target on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research note on Wednesday, September 28th. Leerink Swann reiterated an outperform rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Monday, September 19th. Robert W. Baird reiterated an outperform rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Saturday, September 10th. Credit Suisse Group AG reiterated an outperform rating and issued a $95.00 target price (up previously from $80.71) on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Thursday, September 1st. Finally, Bank of America Corp. reiterated a buy rating and issued a $94.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Tuesday, August 30th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $93.07.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) opened at 80.51 on Monday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $81.45 and a 200 day moving average of $81.21. The company has a market cap of $87.14 billion, a PE ratio of 27.82 and a beta of 1.01. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a 52 week low of $71.50 and a 52 week high of $95.74.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, September 12th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 19th were issued a $0.375 dividend. This is a boost from Walgreens Boots Alliance’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. This represents a $1.50 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.86%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 17th. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s dividend payout ratio is presently 51.90%.
In other news, Director William C. Foote sold 2,067 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.35, for a total transaction of $168,150.45. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 26,690 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,171,231.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Kathleen Wilson-Thompson sold 29,695 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, July 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.03, for a total value of $2,406,185.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 21.10% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WBA. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 125.7% in the third quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 686,957 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $55,382,000 after buying an additional 382,583 shares in the last quarter. Evercore Wealth Management LLC boosted its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 8.1% in the second quarter. Evercore Wealth Management LLC now owns 17,065 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $1,421,000 after buying an additional 1,284 shares in the last quarter. Carnick & Kubik Group LLC acquired a new position in Walgreens Boots Alliance during the second quarter worth $683,000. Williams Jones & Associates LLC boosted its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 1,302.9% in the second quarter. Williams Jones & Associates LLC now owns 34,370 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $2,862,000 after buying an additional 31,920 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund acquired a new position in Walgreens Boots Alliance during the second quarter worth $2,906,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 59.74% of the company’s stock.
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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