Zacks Investment Research cut shares of United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Tuesday, September 18th.

According to Zacks, “United Natural boasts of an impressive earnings surprise history, backed by robust strategies. Notably, the company is committed toward achieving core targets for 2018, which includes plans to enhance customer base, improve gross margin and expand e-commerce. These factors and solid consumer demand fueled United Foods’ third-quarter fiscal 2018 results. Supernatural sales also marked its highest growth rate in the quarter. Also, the company announced plans to buy SUPERVALU. However, the company’s stock lagged the industry in the past year. This was mainly due to higher-than-expected demand that has been pressurizing the company’s supply chain, leading to unfavorable fill-rates. Additionally, dismal gross margin trends stemming from unfavorable shift in consumer mix and higher inbound freight costs pose significant worries. However, estimates for the fourth quarter have remained stable lately, ahead of the earnings release.”

Other analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Citigroup lowered their price objective on United Natural Foods from $53.00 to $49.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, June 21st. ValuEngine raised United Natural Foods from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, June 18th. Pivotal Research lowered their price objective on United Natural Foods from $34.00 to $33.00 and set a sell rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, June 13th. BMO Capital Markets lowered their price objective on United Natural Foods from $50.00 to $41.00 and set a market perform rating for the company in a research report on Friday, June 8th. Finally, Loop Capital set a $55.00 target price on United Natural Foods and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, July 27th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $38.98.

NASDAQ:UNFI traded down $0.61 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $27.15. The stock had a trading volume of 1,696,178 shares, compared to its average volume of 682,690. United Natural Foods has a one year low of $26.86 and a one year high of $52.69. The stock has a market cap of $1.51 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.73, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.23 and a beta of 1.37. The company has a quick ratio of 0.93, a current ratio of 2.56 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.19.

United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, September 20th. The company reported $0.76 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.85 by ($0.09). The company had revenue of $2.59 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.61 billion. United Natural Foods had a net margin of 1.62% and a return on equity of 8.93%. The firm’s revenue was up 10.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.72 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that United Natural Foods will post 3.44 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director James P. Heffernan sold 3,820 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $29.50, for a total transaction of $112,690.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 6,960 shares in the company, valued at approximately $205,320. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 1.40% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of UNFI. Mainstay Capital Management LLC ADV boosted its holdings in United Natural Foods by 4,166.2% in the 2nd quarter. Mainstay Capital Management LLC ADV now owns 6,058 shares of the company’s stock worth $142,000 after buying an additional 5,916 shares during the last quarter. Summit Trail Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in United Natural Foods by 3,013.3% in the 1st quarter. Summit Trail Advisors LLC now owns 144,518 shares of the company’s stock worth $145,000 after buying an additional 139,876 shares during the last quarter. Argus Investors Counsel Inc. acquired a new stake in United Natural Foods in the 2nd quarter worth about $207,000. Campbell & CO Investment Adviser LLC acquired a new stake in United Natural Foods in the 2nd quarter worth about $209,000. Finally, HPM Partners LLC acquired a new stake in United Natural Foods in the 2nd quarter worth about $223,000.

About United Natural Foods

United Natural Foods, Inc engages in the distribution of natural, organic, and specialty foods and non-food products. It operates through the Wholesale and Other segment. The Wholesale segment distributes nutritional supplements, personal care items and organic products. The Others segment includes the sale other activities of the firm.

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