Acuity Brands Inc (AYI) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Sell

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

According to Zacks, “Shares of Acuity Brands lost 27.3% so far this year. 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 may dent margins and thereby the bottom line of the company. Gross profit margin in the last quarter decreased 200 basis points year over year. The company’s profits in the last quarter were adversely impacted by higher-than-normal supply chain costs, including increased quality expenses and inbound freight charges.”

Other analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. Deutsche Bank AG reissued a buy rating and issued a $215.00 price target (down previously from $245.00) on shares of Acuity Brands in a research note on Tuesday, May 30th. Canaccord Genuity reissued a buy rating and issued a $215.00 price target on shares of Acuity Brands in a research note on Friday, June 30th. BidaskClub raised shares of Acuity Brands from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, July 1st. Wells Fargo & Company cut shares of Acuity Brands from an outperform rating to a market perform rating and dropped their price target for the company from $225.00 to $185.00 in a research note on Friday, September 15th. Finally, Robert W. Baird cut shares of Acuity Brands from an outperform rating to a neutral rating and dropped their price target for the company from $212.00 to $178.00 in a research note on Tuesday. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $216.53.

Shares of Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) opened at 163.99 on Tuesday. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $181.93 and a 200 day moving average of $185.88. Acuity Brands has a 52 week low of $153.28 and a 52 week high of $267.08. The company has a market cap of $7.07 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.87 and a beta of 1.42.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 29th. The electronics maker reported $2.15 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.03 by $0.12. Acuity Brands had a net margin of 9.04% and a return on equity of 19.89%. The business had revenue of $891.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $878.66 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $2.06 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.7% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts expect that Acuity Brands will post $8.32 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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Acuity Brands declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Thursday, June 29th that authorizes the company to repurchase 2,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the electronics maker to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Acuity Brands news, EVP Mark A. Black sold 5,427 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $205.29, for a total transaction of $1,114,108.83. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Peter C. Browning sold 970 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $200.05, for a total transaction of $194,048.50. Following the sale, the director now owns 1,000 shares in the company, valued at $200,050. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.40% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Eagle Asset Management Inc. lifted its holdings in Acuity Brands by 2.1% during the 2nd quarter. Eagle Asset Management Inc. now owns 366,528 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $74,507,000 after buying an additional 7,657 shares in the last quarter. Tudor Investment Corp ET AL acquired a new stake in Acuity Brands during the 1st quarter worth approximately $3,203,000. Wellington Management Group LLP lifted its holdings in Acuity Brands by 377.5% during the 1st quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 13,432 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $2,740,000 after buying an additional 10,619 shares in the last quarter. Congress Asset Management Co. MA lifted its holdings in Acuity Brands by 18.5% during the 1st quarter. Congress Asset Management Co. MA now owns 466,387 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $95,143,000 after buying an additional 72,735 shares in the last quarter. Finally, 1st Global Advisors Inc. lifted its holdings in Acuity Brands by 118.4% during the 1st quarter. 1st Global Advisors Inc. now owns 9,372 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $1,912,000 after buying an additional 5,081 shares in the last quarter.

Acuity Brands Company Profile

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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