Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Sell

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report issued on Tuesday, October 17th.

According to Zacks, “Walgreens faces tough competitive landscapes along with currency fluctuations. Also, slowdown in generic introduction continues to weigh upon the company’s margins. However, over the last year, Walgreens has been trading above the broader industry. The company finally gaining approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the modified deal involving purchase of a number of Rite Aid (RAD) store buoys optimism. Although investors did not show much optimism regarding the company’s purchase of fewer-than-expected stores, we believe the deal’s financial outcome is pretty attractive. Moreover, this modified merger contract is expected to extend Walgreens’ growth strategy and offer additional operational benefits. We are also upbeat about Walgreens’ ‘Next Chapter plan’ through fiscal 2017 focusing on a multi-faceted cost-reduction initiative across the enterprise.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Morgan Stanley restated an “overweight” rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research note on Monday, July 3rd. Raymond James Financial, Inc. restated a “market perform” rating on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Wednesday, September 27th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 30th. SunTrust Banks, Inc. set a $72.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Sunday, October 15th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada assumed coverage on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Tuesday, September 19th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $96.00 price target for the company. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $87.63.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) traded down $0.95 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $65.92. 4,550,000 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 8,940,000. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45, a quick ratio of 0.59 and a current ratio of 1.07. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a 52 week low of $63.82 and a 52 week high of $88.00. The firm has a market cap of $66,550.00, a P/E ratio of 13.11, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.19 and a beta of 1.20.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.31 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.21 by $0.10. The firm had revenue of $30.15 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $29.93 billion. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a net margin of 3.45% and a return on equity of 18.36%. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.07 EPS. equities research analysts expect that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post 5.55 earnings per share for the current year.

Walgreens Boots Alliance declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, October 25th that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the pharmacy operator to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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In other Walgreens Boots Alliance news, Director John Anthony Lederer bought 20,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, October 26th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $67.00 per share, for a total transaction of $1,340,000.00. Following the purchase, the director now directly owns 50,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,350,000. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.37, for a total value of $184,324.32. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 16,415 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,105,878.55. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 13.50% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Hudock Capital Group LLC boosted its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,306 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $102,000 after acquiring an additional 6 shares during the last quarter. Modera Wealth Management LLC lifted its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.4% in the first quarter. Modera Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,451 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $204,000 after purchasing an additional 9 shares during the last quarter. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC lifted its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.5% in the first quarter. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC now owns 3,027 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $243,000 after purchasing an additional 16 shares during the last quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.6% during the first quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC now owns 2,703 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $218,000 after buying an additional 17 shares during the period. Finally, WealthTrust Arizona LLC increased its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.4% during the second quarter. WealthTrust Arizona LLC now owns 5,264 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $412,000 after buying an additional 21 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 63.79% of the company’s stock.

About Walgreens Boots Alliance

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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