UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) was the target of a significant drop in short interest during the month of July. As of July 15th, there was short interest totalling 225,600 shares, a drop of 20.0% from the June 15th total of 282,100 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 116,200 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 1.9 days. Approximately 1.5% of the shares of the stock are short sold.

UNF stock traded up $0.87 on Monday, reaching $195.80. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 4,016 shares, compared to its average volume of 98,480. The company has a fifty day moving average price of $180.01. UniFirst has a 12-month low of $132.38 and a 12-month high of $195.16. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.70 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.42 and a beta of 0.74.

UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, June 26th. The textile maker reported $2.46 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.70 by $0.76. UniFirst had a return on equity of 9.67% and a net margin of 9.21%. The company had revenue of $453.72 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $441.70 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.85 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts expect that UniFirst will post 7.66 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 27th. Investors of record on Friday, September 6th will be paid a $0.1125 dividend. This represents a $0.45 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.23%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 5th. UniFirst’s payout ratio is 6.04%.

In other news, VP David A. Difillippo sold 874 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, April 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $157.76, for a total transaction of $137,882.24. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 11,162 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,760,917.12. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP David A. Difillippo sold 883 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $157.85, for a total value of $139,381.55. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 11,162 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,761,921.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,928 shares of company stock worth $305,112 over the last quarter. Company insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in UniFirst by 0.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 2,233,667 shares of the textile maker’s stock worth $342,868,000 after acquiring an additional 9,151 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC lifted its position in UniFirst by 24.0% during the first quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 714,003 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $109,599,000 after buying an additional 138,172 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its position in UniFirst by 6.0% during the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 549,351 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $84,325,000 after buying an additional 31,210 shares during the period. Macquarie Group Ltd. lifted its position in UniFirst by 8.1% during the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 301,680 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $43,162,000 after buying an additional 22,700 shares during the period. Finally, Westwood Holdings Group Inc. purchased a new position in UniFirst during the first quarter valued at $44,385,000. 77.72% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

A number of analysts have recently weighed in on UNF shares. ValuEngine raised Zogenix from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, June 27th. Zacks Investment Research reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Western New England Bancorp in a research note on Saturday, June 29th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered Sogou from a “neutral” rating to an “underweight” rating and dropped their price objective for the company from $5.50 to $4.12 in a research note on Thursday, June 27th.

UniFirst Company Profile

UniFirst Corporation provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States, Europe, and Canada. The company operates through U.S. Rental and Cleaning, Canadian Rental and Cleaning, Manufacturing, Specialty Garments Rental and Cleaning, and First Aid segments. It designs, manufactures, personalizes, rents, cleans, delivers, and sells a range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, lab coats, smocks, and aprons; and specialized protective wear, such as flame resistant and high visibility garments.

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