Leggett & Platt, Inc. (LEG) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold

Leggett & Platt, Inc. (NYSE:LEG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “After delivering an earnings miss in the last quarter, Leggett reverted to its positive surprise trend in first-quarter 2017. Also, sales met estimates after missing the same for seven straight quarters. While earnings benefitted from higher sales and lower taxes, sales were fueled by strong Automotive performance and contributions from buyouts. However, the company which has underperformed the broader industry in the last one year, continued to face raw-material price volatility. Evidently, lingering steel price inflation, which is expected to persist in 2017, caused the bottom line to decline year over year. Additionally, currency remained a hurdle as it hurt sales to an extent. Nonetheless, management’s reiterated view reflects its confidence in achieving sales growth of 5–8% in 2017, which in turn is expected to generate solid profit margins and increased EPS. Apart from this, Leggett’s focus on achieving 2019 targets bodes well.<“

Other equities research analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Stifel Nicolaus increased their price objective on shares of Leggett & Platt from $48.00 to $52.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, April 3rd. Raymond James Financial, Inc. upgraded shares of Leggett & Platt from a “market perform” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $54.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, February 1st. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Leggett & Platt has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $54.25.

Analyst Recommendations for Leggett & Platt (NYSE:LEG)

Shares of Leggett & Platt (NYSE:LEG) traded up 0.83% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $53.15. 420,250 shares of the stock traded hands. The company has a market capitalization of $7.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.35 and a beta of 1.02. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $51.04 and its 200 day moving average is $48.89. Leggett & Platt has a 52 week low of $44.02 and a 52 week high of $54.97.

Leggett & Platt (NYSE:LEG) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The company reported $0.62 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.03. Leggett & Platt had a net margin of 10.29% and a return on equity of 32.02%. The business had revenue of $960.30 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $958.98 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.63 earnings per share. Leggett & Platt’s revenue was up 2.3% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts forecast that Leggett & Platt will post $2.63 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, April 13th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, March 15th were paid a dividend of $0.34 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, March 13th. This represents a $1.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.58%. Leggett & Platt’s payout ratio is 49.28%.

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In other Leggett & Platt news, insider J Mitchell Dolloff sold 20,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.05, for a total transaction of $981,000.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 74,916 shares in the company, valued at $3,674,629.80. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, SVP David M. Desonier sold 6,490 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.68, for a total transaction of $315,933.20. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 74,693 shares in the company, valued at $3,636,055.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 188,150 shares of company stock worth $9,165,661 over the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 3.92% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS boosted its position in Leggett & Platt by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 7,663 shares of the company’s stock worth $375,000 after buying an additional 29 shares during the period. Chesley Taft & Associates LLC boosted its position in Leggett & Platt by 0.3% in the first quarter. Chesley Taft & Associates LLC now owns 14,825 shares of the company’s stock worth $746,000 after buying an additional 50 shares during the period. Huntington National Bank boosted its position in Leggett & Platt by 0.8% in the first quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 9,101 shares of the company’s stock worth $458,000 after buying an additional 69 shares during the period. Advantus Capital Management Inc boosted its position in Leggett & Platt by 0.8% in the third quarter. Advantus Capital Management Inc now owns 13,121 shares of the company’s stock worth $598,000 after buying an additional 101 shares during the period. Finally, Barrington Strategic Wealth Management Group LLC boosted its position in Leggett & Platt by 2.1% in the fourth quarter. Barrington Strategic Wealth Management Group LLC now owns 5,125 shares of the company’s stock worth $251,000 after buying an additional 105 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 69.01% of the company’s stock.

About Leggett & Platt

Leggett & Platt, Incorporated is a manufacturer that conceives, designs and produces a range of engineered components and products found in homes, offices and automobiles. The Company operates in four segments: Residential Furnishings, Commercial Products, Industrial Materials and Specialized Products.

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