JMP Securities upgraded shares of Acuity Brands Inc (NYSE:AYI) from an underperform rating to a market perform rating in a research note published on Tuesday. They currently have $183.00 target price on the electronics maker’s stock.

A number of other equities research analysts also recently commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Acuity Brands from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 19th. Robert W. Baird cut shares of Acuity Brands from an outperform rating to a neutral rating and decreased their price objective for the stock from $212.00 to $178.00 in a research report on Tuesday, September 19th. Wells Fargo & Company cut shares of Acuity Brands from an outperform rating to a market perform rating and decreased their price objective for the stock from $225.00 to $185.00 in a research report on Friday, September 15th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Acuity Brands from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research note on Saturday, August 26th. Finally, Wolfe Research began coverage on shares of Acuity Brands in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. They set an outperform rating and a $237.00 target price for the company. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $210.14.

Acuity Brands (AYI) traded up 4.41% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $177.14. 1,644,883 shares of the company were exchanged. Acuity Brands has a 52 week low of $153.28 and a 52 week high of $261.43. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $173.86 and a 200-day moving average price of $182.89. The company has a market capitalization of $7.63 billion, a PE ratio of 24.71 and a beta of 1.43.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 4th. The electronics maker reported $2.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.44 by $0.11. Acuity Brands had a net margin of 9.04% and a return on equity of 19.89%. The company had revenue of $957.60 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $975.05 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $2.21 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 3.5% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts anticipate that Acuity Brands will post $8.32 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, October 18th will be issued a $0.13 dividend. This represents a $0.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.31%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, October 17th. Acuity Brands’s payout ratio is currently 7.24%.

Acuity Brands declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase plan on Thursday, June 29th that allows the company to repurchase 2,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the electronics maker to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, EVP Mark A. Black sold 5,427 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, July 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $205.29, for a total transaction of $1,114,108.83. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Peter C. Browning sold 970 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $200.05, for a total transaction of $194,048.50. Following the sale, the director now owns 1,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $200,050. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.40% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Sentry Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Acuity Brands by 1.1% in the second quarter. Sentry Investment Management LLC now owns 3,301 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $671,000 after purchasing an additional 35 shares during the period. Toronto Dominion Bank raised its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 25.6% in the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 14,940 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $3,037,000 after buying an additional 3,044 shares during the last quarter. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd raised its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 301.6% in the second quarter. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd now owns 7,630 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $1,551,000 after buying an additional 5,730 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia raised its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 260.6% in the second quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 39,940 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $8,118,000 after buying an additional 28,863 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C raised its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 19.6% in the second quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C now owns 1,413,636 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $287,363,000 after buying an additional 231,406 shares during the last quarter.

About Acuity Brands

Acuity Brands, Inc is a provider of lighting solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications throughout North America and other international markets. The Company operates through North American segment. The Company offers a portfolio of indoor and outdoor lighting and building management solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications.

Analyst Recommendations for Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI)

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