Medifast Inc (NYSE:MED) Short Interest Update

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Medifast Inc (NYSE:MED) was the target of a large increase in short interest during the month of November. As of November 29th, there was short interest totalling 4,500,000 shares, an increase of 19.4% from the November 14th total of 3,770,000 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 401,400 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 11.2 days. Currently, 40.2% of the company’s stock are sold short.

Shares of Medifast stock traded down $2.96 during trading on Friday, hitting $90.38. 186,312 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 354,838. The stock has a market cap of $1.06 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.56 and a beta of 0.64. Medifast has a twelve month low of $66.50 and a twelve month high of $159.41. The company has a fifty day moving average price of $92.25 and a two-hundred day moving average price of $107.59.

Medifast (NYSE:MED) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 7th. The specialty retailer reported $1.32 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.33 by ($0.01). The firm had revenue of $190.10 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $194.70 million. Medifast had a net margin of 10.70% and a return on equity of 62.93%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 36.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.14 earnings per share. As a group, analysts forecast that Medifast will post 5.84 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 6th. Investors of record on Friday, December 27th will be paid a $1.13 dividend. This represents a $4.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.00%. This is an increase from Medifast’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.75. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 26th. Medifast’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 64.94%.

Several brokerages have recently issued reports on MED. ValuEngine lowered Medifast from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, November 8th. Dougherty & Co lowered Medifast from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, November 8th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Medifast from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 13th. Finally, DA Davidson lowered Medifast from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and reduced their price target for the company from $250.00 to $74.00 in a report on Friday, November 8th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $134.00.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of MED. Engaged Capital LLC bought a new position in shares of Medifast in the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $53,113,000. Rice Hall James & Associates LLC raised its stake in shares of Medifast by 133.4% in the 3rd quarter. Rice Hall James & Associates LLC now owns 342,210 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $35,463,000 after acquiring an additional 195,604 shares in the last quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Medifast by 4,753.4% in the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 178,507 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $22,902,000 after acquiring an additional 174,829 shares in the last quarter. Hoplite Capital Management L.P. raised its stake in shares of Medifast by 55.9% in the 2nd quarter. Hoplite Capital Management L.P. now owns 408,828 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $52,453,000 after acquiring an additional 146,568 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Pictet Asset Management Ltd. raised its stake in shares of Medifast by 56.7% in the 2nd quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 292,731 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $37,557,000 after acquiring an additional 105,886 shares in the last quarter. 97.23% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Medifast

Medifast, Inc, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and distributes weight loss, weight management, healthy living products, and other consumable health and nutritional products. It offers bars, bites, pretzels, puffs, oatmeal and cereal crunch products, drinks, hearty choices, pancakes, puddings, soft serves, shakes, smoothies, soft bakes, and soups under the Medifast, OPTAVIA, Thrive by Medifast, Optimal Health by OPTAVIA, Flavors of Home, and Essential 1 brands.

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