Medifast (NYSE:MED) Lowered to “Hold” at StockNews.com

StockNews.com cut shares of Medifast (NYSE:MEDGet Rating) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning.

Separately, DA Davidson reduced their price objective on shares of Medifast from $349.00 to $341.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, February 24th.

Shares of MED stock opened at $191.98 on Wednesday. The stock has a 50 day simple moving average of $180.27 and a 200-day simple moving average of $195.68. Medifast has a 1-year low of $161.44 and a 1-year high of $336.99. The company has a market cap of $2.21 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.69 and a beta of 1.30.

Medifast (NYSE:MEDGet Rating) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 23rd. The specialty retailer reported $2.91 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.67 by $0.24. Medifast had a return on equity of 83.29% and a net margin of 10.28%. The firm had revenue of $377.80 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $375.79 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $2.36 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 42.6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, research analysts forecast that Medifast will post 15.68 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, May 9th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, March 29th will be issued a $1.64 dividend. This represents a $6.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.42%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 28th. This is an increase from Medifast’s previous quarterly dividend of $1.42. Medifast’s dividend payout ratio is 46.79%.

In related news, Director Andrea B. Thomas sold 1,150 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $174.31, for a total transaction of $200,456.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, CEO Daniel R. Chard purchased 690 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 4th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $186.40 per share, for a total transaction of $128,616.00. Following the purchase, the chief executive officer now directly owns 103,839 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $19,355,589.60. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 2.40% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in MED. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in Medifast by 7.5% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,995,911 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $418,003,000 after buying an additional 139,385 shares during the period. Rice Hall James & Associates LLC raised its holdings in shares of Medifast by 4.0% in the 4th quarter. Rice Hall James & Associates LLC now owns 326,732 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $68,427,000 after acquiring an additional 12,687 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its position in Medifast by 12.2% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 229,196 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $48,000,000 after acquiring an additional 24,903 shares during the last quarter. Pictet Asset Management SA grew its position in shares of Medifast by 41.8% in the 4th quarter. Pictet Asset Management SA now owns 205,685 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $43,077,000 after buying an additional 60,665 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Lombard Odier Asset Management Switzerland SA raised its stake in Medifast by 45.8% during the fourth quarter. Lombard Odier Asset Management Switzerland SA now owns 175,000 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $36,650,000 after buying an additional 55,000 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 84.78% of the company’s stock.

Medifast Company Profile (Get Rating)

Medifast, Inc, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and distributes weight loss, weight management, healthy living products, and other consumable health and nutritional products in the United States and the Asia-Pacific. The company offers bars, bites, pretzels, puffs, cereal crunch, drinks, hearty choices, oatmeal, pancakes, pudding, soft serves, shakes, smoothies, soft bakes, and soups under the OPTAVIA, Optimal Health by Take Shape for Life, and Flavors of Home brands.

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