Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan raised its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) by 0.2% during the first quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 58,580 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock after buying an additional 130 shares during the period. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan’s holdings in Walgreens Boots Alliance were worth $4,865,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other large investors have also modified their holdings of WBA. Nordea Investment Management AB raised its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 26.5% in the first quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 9,154,328 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $760,267,000 after buying an additional 1,917,082 shares during the period. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. raised its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 22.9% in the first quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 4,912,489 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $407,982,000 after buying an additional 914,888 shares during the last quarter. Swiss National Bank raised its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 27.3% in the first quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 3,262,703 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $270,967,000 after buying an additional 700,400 shares during the last quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group raised its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 17.1% in the first quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 2,588,887 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $215,681,000 after buying an additional 378,686 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. raised its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 53.0% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 2,211,112 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $183,632,000 after buying an additional 766,200 shares during the last quarter. 61.16% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ WBA) traded up 0.78% during trading on Friday, reaching $81.13. The company had a trading volume of 5,216,763 shares. The stock has a market capitalization of $86.82 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.49 and a beta of 1.25. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. has a 1-year low of $75.18 and a 1-year high of $89.69. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $79.95 and a 200-day moving average of $82.28. Walgreens Boots Alliance also was the recipient of unusually large options trading activity on Thursday. Stock investors acquired 21,284 call options on the company. This represents an increase of 753% compared to the average daily volume of 2,495 call options.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, June 29th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.33 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $30.12 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $29.72 billion. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a net margin of 3.69% and a return on equity of 17.34%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.18 earnings per share. On average, analysts anticipate that Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. will post $5.00 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 12th. Investors of record on Friday, August 18th will be issued a dividend of $0.40 per share. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.97%. This is a boost from Walgreens Boots Alliance’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 16th. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 40.30%.

Walgreens Boots Alliance announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback program on Thursday, June 29th that allows the company to buyback $5.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the pharmacy operator to purchase up to 5.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

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WBA has been the subject of several recent research reports. Needham & Company LLC raised Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $94.00 price target for the company in a research report on Friday, June 30th. Pivotal Research set a $85.00 price target on Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Sunday, July 2nd. Zacks Investment Research lowered Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 14th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $77.00 price target (down from $89.00) on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reduced their price target on Walgreens Boots Alliance from $95.00 to $80.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, May 31st. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $91.06.

In related news, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.79, for a total transaction of $218,305.44. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 19,151 shares in the company, valued at $1,528,058.29. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Company insiders own 13.50% of the company’s stock.

About Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA)

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