Acuity Brands (AYI) Rating Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report report published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Acuity Brands lost 15.3% in the last six months, more than its industry's loss of 14.3%. Earnings estimates for the current quarter and the year have remained unchanged over the last 30 days, limiting upside potential for the stock. Acuity Brands operates in a highly competitive industry that is affected by volatility owing to a number of general business and economic factors. Higher spending on research and development of energy efficient lighting products dent margins and thereby the bottom line of the company. Gross profit margin in the fourth quarter decreased 80 basis points year over year owing to the lower-than-expected sales volume. Again, increased volatility, higher costs, reliance on one client and escalating interest/mortgage rates might weigh on the stock.”

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Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $198.00 target price on shares of Acuity Brands in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. Williams Capital cut shares of Acuity Brands from a buy rating to a hold rating and lowered their target price for the stock from $204.00 to $175.00 in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed a market perform rating and issued a $175.00 target price (down from $185.00) on shares of Acuity Brands in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, Seaport Global Securities reaffirmed a neutral rating on shares of Acuity Brands in a research note on Thursday, January 11th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $196.23.

Shares of Acuity Brands (AYI) opened at $149.84 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $6,276.10, a P/E ratio of 18.82, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.52 and a beta of 1.32. The company has a quick ratio of 1.65, a current ratio of 2.23 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21. Acuity Brands has a 12 month low of $141.68 and a 12 month high of $210.00.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, January 9th. The electronics maker reported $1.81 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.97 by ($0.16). The firm had revenue of $842.80 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $883.97 million. Acuity Brands had a return on equity of 20.08% and a net margin of 8.91%. equities analysts anticipate that Acuity Brands will post 8.91 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. acquired a new position in shares of Acuity Brands in the 4th quarter valued at $151,000. Shelton Capital Management acquired a new position in shares of Acuity Brands in the 4th quarter valued at $201,000. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Acuity Brands in the 3rd quarter valued at $206,000. Montag & Caldwell LLC acquired a new position in shares of Acuity Brands in the 4th quarter valued at $212,000. Finally, Amica Retiree Medical Trust acquired a new position in shares of Acuity Brands in the 4th quarter valued at $218,000.

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About Acuity Brands

Acuity Brands, Inc is a provider of lighting solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications throughout North America and other international markets. The Company operates through North American segment. The Company offers a portfolio of indoor and outdoor lighting and building management solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications.

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