Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of United Natural Foods Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Estimates have remained unchanged since past 60 days period, may be due to industry-wide weakness. While United Natural posted better-than-expected fourth quarter fiscal 2016 results, earnings declined on a year over year basis due to operating income margins. Gross margin expanded in the quarter, but continued to remain challenging due to competitive pricing pressure, moderated supplier promotional activity, and a reduction in fuel surcharges. Overall, we are impressed with the company’s focus on its acquisition strategies, efforts to increase its market share and improve operational efficiency. However, gross margin headwinds continue to remain a concern. Further, the company will face the pressure from food deflation, stiff competition, aggressive promotional environment and waning store traffic.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on UNFI. Barclays PLC reaffirmed a sell rating and issued a $40.00 price objective on shares of United Natural Foods in a research note on Friday, September 23rd. RBC Capital Markets set a $34.00 target price on United Natural Foods and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, September 14th. TheStreet cut United Natural Foods from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, September 8th. Jefferies Group set a $45.00 target price on United Natural Foods and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Thursday, September 29th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. reiterated a neutral rating and issued a $40.00 target price (down previously from $45.00) on shares of United Natural Foods in a report on Tuesday, August 16th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $43.48.

United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) traded down 1.79% during trading on Friday, reaching $47.25. The company had a trading volume of 83,058 shares. United Natural Foods has a one year low of $29.75 and a one year high of $52.18. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $42.41 and its 200 day moving average is $43.07. The company has a market capitalization of $2.38 billion, a PE ratio of 18.90 and a beta of 1.22.

United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) last released its quarterly earnings data on Monday, September 12th. The company reported $0.70 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.07. United Natural Foods had a return on equity of 8.85% and a net margin of 1.48%. The business had revenue of $2.21 billion for the quarter. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.72 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 7.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts predict that United Natural Foods will post $2.60 earnings per share for the current year.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Cambiar Investors LLC bought a new stake in United Natural Foods during the second quarter valued at approximately $28,805,000. FMR LLC boosted its stake in United Natural Foods by 16.7% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 3,671,127 shares of the company’s stock valued at $171,808,000 after buying an additional 526,254 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in United Natural Foods by 22,852.5% in the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 474,428 shares of the company’s stock valued at $18,996,000 after buying an additional 472,361 shares during the period. Teachers Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in United Natural Foods by 414.7% in the second quarter. Teachers Advisors Inc. now owns 375,837 shares of the company’s stock valued at $17,589,000 after buying an additional 302,821 shares during the period. Finally, Dalton Greiner Hartman Maher & Co. acquired a new stake in United Natural Foods during the second quarter valued at about $13,655,000. 98.32% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

United Natural Foods Company Profile

United Natural Foods, Inc is a distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods and non-food products in the United States and Canada. It offers products, in six product categories: grocery and general merchandise, produce, perishables and frozen foods, nutritional supplements and sports nutrition, bulk and food service products and personal care items.

5 Day Chart for NASDAQ:UNFI

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