Zacks Investment Research Lowers Flowers Foods (FLO) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Flowers Foods (NYSE:FLO) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Flowers Foods is one of the largest producers of packaged bakery foods in the United States. The company operates more than 40 highly efficient bakeries that produce a wide range of bakery food for retail and foodservice customers in the U.S. The company maintains some of the most efficient and technologically advanced bakeries in the country and has a team of outstanding employees and associates. Each bakery operates as a separate subsidiary of the company and has its own president, human resources director, and controller. Fresh breads, buns, rolls, snack cakes, and tortillas are available to approximately 80% of the U.S. population through the company’s direct-store delivery (DSD) network. “

FLO has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Pivotal Research raised Flowers Foods from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $23.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Thursday, November 9th. SunTrust Banks reissued a hold rating and issued a $20.00 target price on shares of Flowers Foods in a research note on Friday, November 10th. BMO Capital Markets increased their target price on Flowers Foods from $19.00 to $20.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. Finally, TheStreet cut Flowers Foods from a b- rating to a c rating in a research note on Thursday, November 9th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $21.67.

Flowers Foods (NYSE:FLO) traded up $0.20 during trading on Friday, hitting $18.69. 1,383,879 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,047,405. The company has a market capitalization of $3,875.68, a PE ratio of 46.73, a P/E/G ratio of 3.12 and a beta of 1.04. Flowers Foods has a 52-week low of $16.80 and a 52-week high of $21.00. The company has a current ratio of 1.28, a quick ratio of 1.01 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.71.

Flowers Foods (NYSE:FLO) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The company reported $0.23 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.20 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $932.80 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $915.55 million. Flowers Foods had a return on equity of 15.16% and a net margin of 2.16%. The firm’s revenue was up 1.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.21 earnings per share. equities research analysts forecast that Flowers Foods will post 0.86 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Friday, December 1st were paid a $0.17 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, November 30th. This represents a $0.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.64%. Flowers Foods’s dividend payout ratio is presently 170.00%.

In other Flowers Foods news, insider Tonja W. Taylor sold 4,960 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $19.57, for a total transaction of $97,067.20. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 22,055 shares in the company, valued at $431,616.35. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, CFO R Steve Kinsey sold 116,067 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $19.39, for a total transaction of $2,250,539.13. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 448,016 shares of company stock worth $8,588,807. 15.81% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC boosted its position in Flowers Foods by 7.0% during the fourth quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 77,367 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,494,000 after buying an additional 5,050 shares during the period. Atlantic Trust Group LLC boosted its position in Flowers Foods by 9.2% during the third quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 75,305 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,417,000 after buying an additional 6,370 shares during the period. California Public Employees Retirement System boosted its position in Flowers Foods by 1.7% during the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 509,155 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,577,000 after buying an additional 8,586 shares during the period. Janney Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in Flowers Foods during the third quarter valued at about $413,000. Finally, Vident Investment Advisory LLC purchased a new stake in Flowers Foods during the third quarter valued at about $367,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 66.39% of the company’s stock.

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About Flowers Foods

Flowers Foods, Inc is a producer and marketer of packaged bakery products. The Company operates in two segments: direct-store-delivery segment (DSD Segment) and warehouse delivery segment (Warehouse Segment). The DSD segment produces fresh breads, buns, rolls, tortillas and snack cakes sold primarily by a network of independent distributors to retail and foodservice customers in the areas of the United States: East, South, Southwest, California, and select markets in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Nevada, and Colorado.

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