UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $206.00 price objective on the textile maker’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 11.99% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “UniFirst Corporation has become an industry leader and remains one of the fastest growing companies in the Uniform and Textile Services business. Its business is the rental Lease and Sale of work clothing, uniforms, protective apparel, careerwear, and facility service products to businesses in virtually all industrial categories. The major portion of the Company’s business is Uniform Rental Service Programs, wherein it provides customers with all necessary products plus weekly cleaning, maintenance, and any needed replacements of work clothing. The Company became the first private industrial launderer to be granted a government license to process nuclear-contaminated garments. The Company has developed a separate division, UniTech Services Group, which now includes specialized plants throughout the United States and in Europe. UniFirst is a national leader in cleaning and decontaminating the garments worn by workers who maintain and refuel nuclear power and nuclear processing equipment. “

Several other research analysts also recently commented on UNF. Robert W. Baird lifted their target price on shares of UniFirst from $183.00 to $198.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, June 28th. Barrington Research reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of UniFirst in a research note on Friday, June 29th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $202.00.

Shares of NYSE UNF opened at $183.95 on Wednesday. UniFirst has a 52 week low of $136.55 and a 52 week high of $193.05. The firm has a market capitalization of $3.51 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.84, a PEG ratio of 2.95 and a beta of 0.60.

UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, June 27th. The textile maker reported $1.58 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.56 by $0.02. UniFirst had a net margin of 7.45% and a return on equity of 8.21%. The company had revenue of $427.38 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $420.45 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.19 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.3% on a year-over-year basis. analysts anticipate that UniFirst will post 6.23 EPS for the current year.

In related news, major shareholder Cecelia Levenstein sold 4,783 shares of UniFirst stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $185.50, for a total value of $887,246.50. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 129,025 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $23,934,137.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Steven S. Sintros sold 919 shares of UniFirst stock in a transaction on Monday, June 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $181.75, for a total transaction of $167,028.25. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 5,690 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,034,157.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 14,028 shares of company stock worth $2,610,220. 1.00% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in UNF. Rhumbline Advisers boosted its holdings in UniFirst by 1.4% in the first quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 39,432 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $6,374,000 after acquiring an additional 539 shares in the last quarter. Comerica Bank boosted its holdings in UniFirst by 2.3% in the first quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 16,427 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $2,660,000 after acquiring an additional 369 shares in the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC boosted its holdings in UniFirst by 34.1% in the first quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 5,004 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $809,000 after acquiring an additional 1,272 shares in the last quarter. Trexquant Investment LP boosted its holdings in UniFirst by 211.6% in the first quarter. Trexquant Investment LP now owns 8,642 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $1,397,000 after acquiring an additional 5,869 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. boosted its holdings in UniFirst by 14.1% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 29,488 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $4,767,000 after acquiring an additional 3,640 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 77.31% of the company’s stock.

UniFirst Company Profile

UniFirst Corporation provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It operates through US Rental and Cleaning, Canadian Rental and Cleaning, Manufacturing, Specialty Garments Rental and Cleaning, and First Aid segments. The company designs, manufactures, personalizes, rents, cleans, delivers, and sells a range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, lab coats, smocks, and aprons; and specialized protective wear, such as flame resistant and high visibility garments.

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