WestRock (WRK) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

WestRock (NYSE:WRK) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Saturday. The brokerage presently has a $74.00 price target on the basic materials company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 18.12% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Despite commodity cost inflation, WestRock expects adjusted earnings per share in second-quarter to be higher than year-ago quarter’s adjusted EPS of 54 cents. Backed by industry conditions, positive volume and pricing dynamics, net sales growth is expected to rise 10% while adjusted segment EBITDA will grow 20%. The announced acquisition of rival, KapStone fits well with WestRock's existing operational footprint, should generate significant cost synergies and broaden WestRock's paper packaging product offering. The joint venture with Grupo Gondi has enhanced its ability to win share in the growing Mexican packaging market. Productivity and performance improvement programs, along with cost-saving actions remain tailwinds. WestRock outperformed the industry in the past year.”

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Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. Deutsche Bank set a $70.00 target price on shares of WestRock and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 14th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price target on shares of WestRock in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. ValuEngine raised shares of WestRock from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, February 9th. Bank of America raised their price target on shares of WestRock from $73.00 to $76.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 30th. Finally, Citigroup raised their price target on shares of WestRock from $80.00 to $83.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 30th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eight have issued a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $73.83.

Shares of WRK opened at $62.65 on Friday. WestRock has a twelve month low of $49.23 and a twelve month high of $71.55. The firm has a market capitalization of $15,983.71, a PE ratio of 23.91, a PEG ratio of 1.23 and a beta of 1.37. The company has a current ratio of 1.28, a quick ratio of 0.74 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47.

WestRock (NYSE:WRK) last announced its earnings results on Monday, January 29th. The basic materials company reported $0.87 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.75 by $0.12. WestRock had a net margin of 11.51% and a return on equity of 7.45%. The business had revenue of $3.89 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.95 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.47 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.0% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts predict that WestRock will post 4.06 earnings per share for the current year.

In other WestRock news, insider James B. Porter sold 14,930 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.00, for a total transaction of $1,045,100.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 50,093 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,506,510. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director John A. Luke, Jr. sold 7,236 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.06, for a total transaction of $485,246.16. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 504,679 shares in the company, valued at approximately $33,843,773.74. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 454,649 shares of company stock worth $29,964,777 in the last three months. Insiders own 2.68% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of WRK. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of WestRock by 32.6% in the 4th quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 4,631,286 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $292,744,000 after buying an additional 1,138,884 shares in the last quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. bought a new stake in shares of WestRock in the 3rd quarter valued at about $51,740,000. Alps Advisors Inc. bought a new stake in shares of WestRock in the 4th quarter valued at about $47,018,000. Two Sigma Investments LP boosted its holdings in shares of WestRock by 280.4% in the 4th quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP now owns 806,081 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $50,952,000 after buying an additional 594,196 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Conning Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of WestRock by 9,098.7% in the 4th quarter. Conning Inc. now owns 445,954 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $28,189,000 after buying an additional 441,106 shares in the last quarter. 88.27% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About WestRock

WestRock Company manufactures and sells paper and packaging solutions for the consumer and corrugated markets in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company operates through three segments: Corrugated Packaging, Consumer Packaging, and Land and Development. The Corrugated Packaging segment produces containerboards, corrugated sheets, corrugated packaging, and preprinted linerboards for consumer and industrial products manufacturers, and corrugated box manufacturers.

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