Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA) Lifted to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Ahead of its Q2 earnings, Walgreens Boots is trading above the Zacks classified Retail-Drug Stores industry over the last three months on strong fundamental and inorganic expansion. While, the last-reported first-quarter fiscal 2017 revenue performance was below the mark, management is optimistic about registering strong growth in the second half of 2017 on new strategic pharmacy tie-ups. Several recent strategic programs including skin product launch and vaccination program are also expected to boost the company’s growth in near terms. Narrowed 2017 earnings outlook also buoys optimism. However, FTC –imposed regulatory issues delaying the completion of the long-awaited Rite Aid acquisition raises concern. Currency fluctuations and a competitive landscape are other major woes.”

A number of other brokerages also recently weighed in on WBA. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Wednesday, December 21st. Leerink Swann set a $90.00 price target on Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, January 8th. Deutsche Bank AG set a $92.00 price target on Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, January 21st. Wells Fargo & Co reissued an “outperform” rating on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Tuesday, January 31st. Finally, Robert W. Baird reissued an “outperform” rating on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Tuesday, January 24th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. Walgreens Boots Alliance currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $91.48.

Analyst Recommendations for Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA)

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) opened at 82.84 on Thursday. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $84.63 and a 200-day moving average price of $83.04. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a 12 month low of $75.74 and a 12 month high of $88.00. The firm has a market capitalization of $89.42 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.92 and a beta of 1.20.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last released its earnings results on Thursday, January 5th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.10 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.09 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $28.50 billion for the quarter. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a return on equity of 16.76% and a net margin of 3.52%. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s revenue was down 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.03 EPS. On average, equities analysts forecast that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post $5.00 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 10th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, February 15th were issued a dividend of $0.375 per share. This represents a $1.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.81%. The ex-dividend date was Monday, February 13th. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s dividend payout ratio is presently 39.68%.

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In related news, COO Ornella Barra purchased 124,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 7th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $80.93 per share, for a total transaction of $10,035,320.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the chief operating officer now owns 1,690,336 shares in the company, valued at approximately $136,798,892.48. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Janice M. Babiak purchased 600 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, February 2nd. The stock was bought at an average price of $80.68 per share, with a total value of $48,408.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now owns 600 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $48,408. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders own 13.50% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of WBA. Hudock Capital Group LLC boosted its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.4% in the third quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,641 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $132,000 after buying an additional 7 shares during the period. Zacks Investment Management boosted its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.3% in the third quarter. Zacks Investment Management now owns 3,979 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $321,000 after buying an additional 11 shares during the period. Alpha Windward LLC boosted its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.6% in the third quarter. Alpha Windward LLC now owns 3,227 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $260,000 after buying an additional 18 shares during the period. Glassman Wealth Services boosted its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. Glassman Wealth Services now owns 2,898 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $240,000 after buying an additional 18 shares during the period. Finally, Thomaspartners Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.5% in the third quarter. Thomaspartners Inc. now owns 4,357 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $351,000 after buying an additional 20 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 59.98% of the company’s stock.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Company Profile

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).

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