Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Acuity Brands Inc. (NYSE:AYI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report released on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Acuity Brands, Inc. is comprised of the Acuity Lighting Group and Acuity Specialty Products. The Acuity Lighting Group is the world’s largest lighting fixture manufacturer and includes brands such as Lithonia Lighting, Holophane, Peerless, and Hydrel. Acuity Specialty Products is a leading provider of specialty chemicals and includes brands such as Zep, Enforcer, and Selig. “

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Williams Capital started coverage on Acuity Brands in a research report on Friday, September 30th. They issued a buy rating and a $306.00 target price on the stock. Canaccord Genuity reissued a buy rating and issued a $286.00 target price (down previously from $305.00) on shares of Acuity Brands in a research report on Friday, September 30th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reissued a buy rating and issued a $295.00 target price on shares of Acuity Brands in a research report on Thursday, June 30th. Robert W. Baird set a $272.00 target price on Acuity Brands and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, October 6th. Finally, Cowen and Company set a $285.00 target price on Acuity Brands and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, October 6th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. Acuity Brands currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $275.36.

Shares of Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) traded up 0.09% during trading on Wednesday, hitting $244.86. The stock had a trading volume of 82,164 shares. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $261.59 and a 200 day moving average price of $256.17. Acuity Brands has a 12-month low of $169.42 and a 12-month high of $280.89. The firm has a market cap of $10.70 billion, a P/E ratio of 36.93 and a beta of 1.46.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, October 5th. The company reported $2.21 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.39 by $0.18. The firm earned $925.50 million during the quarter. Acuity Brands had a net margin of 8.84% and a return on equity of 20.99%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 21.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.63 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts expect that Acuity Brands will post $9.70 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 18th will be issued a dividend of $0.13 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, October 14th. This represents a $0.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.21%. Acuity Brands’s dividend payout ratio is currently 7.83%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of AYI. Genesee Valley Trust Co. boosted its position in Acuity Brands by 33.7% in the third quarter. Genesee Valley Trust Co. now owns 1,114 shares of the company’s stock valued at $295,000 after buying an additional 281 shares in the last quarter. Atria Investments LLC bought a new position in shares of Acuity Brands during the third quarter valued at $224,000. First National Bank of Omaha bought a new position in shares of Acuity Brands during the third quarter valued at $5,102,000. Creative Planning raised its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 6.9% in the third quarter. Creative Planning now owns 4,800 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,270,000 after buying an additional 310 shares during the last quarter. Finally, British Columbia Investment Management Corp raised its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 2.7% in the third quarter. British Columbia Investment Management Corp now owns 34,959 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,250,000 after buying an additional 912 shares during the last quarter. 93.27% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Acuity Brands

Acuity Brands, Inc (Acuity Brands), is the parent company of Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc (ABL), and other subsidiaries. Acuity Brands is a provider of lighting solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure, and residential applications throughout North America and select international markets.

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