Lamb Weston (LW) Shares Gap Up Following Better-Than-Expected Earnings

Lamb Weston Holdings (NYSE:LW) shares gapped up before the market opened on Friday following a stronger than expected earnings report. The stock had previously closed at $60.94, but opened at $61.47. Lamb Weston shares last traded at $62.33, with a volume of 832311 shares.

The specialty retailer reported $0.91 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.11. Lamb Weston had a negative return on equity of 53.18% and a net margin of 9.85%. The company had revenue of $863.40 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $813.81 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.59 earnings per share. Lamb Weston’s revenue was up 12.3% compared to the same quarter last year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 4th will be issued a $0.1913 dividend. This represents a $0.77 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.24%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 3rd. Lamb Weston’s dividend payout ratio is 32.76%.

A number of research firms have weighed in on LW. Morgan Stanley increased their target price on Lamb Weston from $61.00 to $64.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Friday. Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $66.00 target price on shares of Lamb Weston in a report on Thursday. Zacks Investment Research raised Lamb Weston from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $63.00 target price on the stock in a report on Thursday, March 29th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $64.00 target price (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Lamb Weston in a report on Monday, January 22nd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, four have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $59.71.

In other news, Director Peter J. Bensen bought 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, January 8th. The shares were bought at an average price of $58.18 per share, with a total value of $290,900.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now owns 1,935 shares in the company, valued at $112,578.30. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. 0.26% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Telemus Capital LLC raised its stake in shares of Lamb Weston by 1.1% in the fourth quarter. Telemus Capital LLC now owns 86,418 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $4,878,000 after buying an additional 930 shares during the period. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado raised its stake in shares of Lamb Weston by 3.4% in the fourth quarter. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado now owns 28,457 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $1,606,000 after buying an additional 932 shares during the period. QS Investors LLC raised its stake in shares of Lamb Weston by 10.9% in the fourth quarter. QS Investors LLC now owns 10,101 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $570,000 after buying an additional 994 shares during the period. Garde Capital Inc. raised its stake in shares of Lamb Weston by 22.8% in the fourth quarter. Garde Capital Inc. now owns 7,000 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $395,000 after buying an additional 1,300 shares during the period. Finally, Advisor Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Lamb Weston by 25.6% in the fourth quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 6,749 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $381,000 after buying an additional 1,374 shares during the period. 80.63% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

The company has a quick ratio of 0.53, a current ratio of 1.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -4.43. The stock has a market capitalization of $8,690.10, a PE ratio of 26.63, a PEG ratio of 1.94 and a beta of 0.78.

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About Lamb Weston

Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc produces and markets value-added frozen potato products worldwide. It operates through four segments: Global, Foodservice, Retail, and Other. The company offers frozen potatoes, sweet potatoes, and appetizers under the Lamb Weston brand name, as well as various customer labels.

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