Meredith (NYSE:MDP) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Meredith (NYSE:MDP) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Wednesday, January 3rd.

According to Zacks, “Meredith has outperformed the industry in the past three months. The company’s strategic initiatives particularly in digital space, brand licensing activities, solid portfolio of television stations and robust earnings surprise history reinforce its position as one of the leading media and marketing companies. The company remains optimistic to generate solid no-political adverting revenues in Local Media Group attributable to robust demand for automotive and professional services. Moreover, the company’s recent merger agreement with Time Inc. for $2.8 billion cash, bodes well. Nevertheless, waning print media trends due to shift from traditional advertising and stiff competition continues to pose concerns for investors. Meanwhile, earnings in both the second quarter and fiscal 2018 are anticipated to decline year over year as the fiscal 2017 benefited from record political advertising revenues.”

Several other analysts also recently issued reports on MDP. Jefferies Group raised shares of Meredith from a hold rating to a buy rating and raised their price target for the stock from $56.00 to $80.00 in a research report on Tuesday, November 28th. ValuEngine raised shares of Meredith from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Monday, November 27th. Citigroup downgraded shares of Meredith from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Friday, December 1st. Wells Fargo & Co decreased their price target on shares of Meredith from $62.00 to $54.00 and set a market perform rating for the company in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Benchmark reissued a buy rating and set a $77.00 price target (up previously from $67.00) on shares of Meredith in a research report on Monday, November 27th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $74.20.

Meredith (NYSE:MDP) traded down $0.10 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $67.20. 203,175 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 452,562. The stock has a market cap of $3,000.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.23, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.48 and a beta of 1.30. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.08. Meredith has a 52 week low of $50.62 and a 52 week high of $72.25.

Meredith (NYSE:MDP) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The company reported $0.69 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $393.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $397.50 million. Meredith had a net margin of 11.04% and a return on equity of 18.24%. The company’s revenue was down 1.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.75 EPS. equities analysts predict that Meredith will post 3.39 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 30th were paid a $0.52 dividend. This represents a $2.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.10%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, November 29th. Meredith’s payout ratio is 50.24%.

In related news, major shareholder Edwin T. Iv Meredith sold 3,600 shares of Meredith stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.10, for a total transaction of $252,360.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Meredith D. Mell Frazier sold 22,176 shares of Meredith stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $69.85, for a total value of $1,548,993.60. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 6,000 shares in the company, valued at $419,100. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 35,024 shares of company stock worth $2,443,024 over the last quarter. 4.00% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Rowland & Co. Investment Counsel ADV increased its stake in Meredith by 17.4% in the 4th quarter. Rowland & Co. Investment Counsel ADV now owns 30,160 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,996,000 after purchasing an additional 4,460 shares in the last quarter. North Star Investment Management Corp. increased its stake in Meredith by 6.9% in the 4th quarter. North Star Investment Management Corp. now owns 31,025 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,049,000 after purchasing an additional 2,000 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System increased its stake in Meredith by 4.9% in the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 124,134 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,889,000 after purchasing an additional 5,834 shares in the last quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC acquired a new stake in Meredith during the 3rd quarter worth about $204,000. Finally, Royce & Associates LP boosted its position in Meredith by 5.4% during the 3rd quarter. Royce & Associates LP now owns 1,602,378 shares of the company’s stock worth $88,932,000 after acquiring an additional 81,737 shares during the period. 97.26% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Meredith Company Profile

Meredith Corporation is a diversified media company. The Company is focused primarily on the home and family marketplace. The Company operates through two segments: Local Media and National Media. As of June 30, 2016, the Company’s Local Media segment includes 16 owned television stations, one managed television station and related digital and mobile media operations.

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