Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Churchill Downs (NASDAQ:CHDN) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has $283.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs, Inc. has Five racetracks; Six casinos; Big Fish Games, the world’s largest distributor of casual games; The country’s leading online wagering business, TwinSpires.com; A video poker business, A multi-state network of off-track betting (OTB) facilities; and a collection of racing-related data, totalisator and telecommunication companies that support CDI’s sports and gaming operations. CDI owes much to its horse racing heritage and is expanding on that tradition while evolving its business mix, management team and growth strategies to navigate any challenges. CDI’s launch of TwinSpires.com, an advance-deposit waging platform that allows customers to wager on horse racing from computers, tablet devices and smart phones, created another retail outlet for wagering transactions and data distribution. “

A number of other equities analysts have also issued reports on the company. BidaskClub raised Churchill Downs from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Saturday, December 30th. Telsey Advisory Group upped their price target on Churchill Downs from $196.00 to $209.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $240.25.

Shares of Churchill Downs (NASDAQ:CHDN) traded up $2.75 on Tuesday, hitting $255.45. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 193,728 shares, compared to its average volume of 158,854. Churchill Downs has a one year low of $141.00 and a one year high of $256.10. The firm has a market cap of $3,940.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.89, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.53 and a beta of 0.92. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.77, a quick ratio of 0.57 and a current ratio of 0.57.

Churchill Downs (NASDAQ:CHDN) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, November 1st. The company reported $1.08 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.90 by $0.18. Churchill Downs had a return on equity of 17.48% and a net margin of 9.75%. The company had revenue of $314.80 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $308.43 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.52 EPS. Churchill Downs’s quarterly revenue was up 3.8% on a year-over-year basis. analysts anticipate that Churchill Downs will post 7.05 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared an annual dividend, which was paid on Friday, January 5th. Investors of record on Friday, December 1st were given a dividend of $1.52 per share. This is a positive change from Churchill Downs’s previous annual dividend of $1.32. This represents a dividend yield of 0.73%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, November 30th. Churchill Downs’s dividend payout ratio is currently 18.98%.

Churchill Downs announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, November 29th that permits the company to buyback $500.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of CHDN. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Churchill Downs by 5.1% during the 2nd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 68,114 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,486,000 after acquiring an additional 3,297 shares in the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc raised its position in shares of Churchill Downs by 19.6% during the 2nd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 10,068 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,845,000 after acquiring an additional 1,651 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Churchill Downs by 4.3% during the 2nd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 57,490 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,538,000 after acquiring an additional 2,383 shares in the last quarter. Swiss National Bank raised its position in shares of Churchill Downs by 7.3% during the 2nd quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 23,500 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,308,000 after acquiring an additional 1,600 shares in the last quarter. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its position in shares of Churchill Downs by 22.7% during the 2nd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 23,338 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,278,000 after acquiring an additional 4,319 shares in the last quarter. 72.50% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs Incorporated is a racing, gaming and online entertainment company. The Company is engaged in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with approximately 9,030 gaming positions in seven states, and is a legal mobile and online platform for betting on horseracing in the United States. It operates through five segments: Racing, Casinos, TwinSpires, Other Investments and Corporate.

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