Acuity Brands (AYI) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Acuity Brands is a leading player in the North American nonresidential lighting fixture market, courtesy of its Lithonia brand. The company is focused on capitalizing opportunities by continuously expanding and leveraging on its lighting and building management solutions. Also, the company’s extensive market presence and financial strength are major positives. The company expects the North American lighting market to return to growth in fiscal 2018. However, Acuity Brands operates in a highly competitive industry that is affected by volatility owing to a number of general business and economic factors. Higher spending on research and development of energy efficient lighting products may dent margins and thereby the bottom line of the company. Meanwhile, shares of Acuity Brands lost 24.8% so far this year.”

AYI has been the subject of several other research reports. Wells Fargo & Company lowered shares of Acuity Brands from an outperform rating to a market perform rating and cut their price target for the stock from $225.00 to $185.00 in a report on Friday, September 15th. KeyCorp initiated coverage on shares of Acuity Brands in a report on Friday, October 13th. They issued a sector weight rating for the company. BidaskClub lowered shares of Acuity Brands from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a report on Saturday, August 26th. JMP Securities raised shares of Acuity Brands from an underperform rating to a market perform rating and set a $183.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, October 3rd. Finally, Roth Capital set a $130.00 target price on shares of Acuity Brands and gave the stock a sell rating in a research note on Thursday, October 5th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. Acuity Brands has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $197.17.

Shares of Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) opened at $165.83 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $7,000.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.98, a P/E/G ratio of 1.76 and a beta of 1.43. The company has a quick ratio of 1.53, a current ratio of 2.07 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21. Acuity Brands has a 1-year low of $153.28 and a 1-year high of $249.72.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 4th. The electronics maker reported $2.55 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.30 by $0.25. The company had revenue of $957.60 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $975.05 million. Acuity Brands had a net margin of 9.18% and a return on equity of 20.47%. The firm’s revenue was up 3.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $2.21 EPS. analysts expect that Acuity Brands will post 8.63 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Acuity Brands news, EVP Mark A. Black sold 7,441 shares of Acuity Brands stock in a transaction on Friday, November 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $161.32, for a total transaction of $1,200,382.12. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 30,649 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,944,296.68. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 2.8% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,299,432 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $873,989,000 after acquiring an additional 117,422 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 12.8% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,260,836 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $866,145,000 after acquiring an additional 484,537 shares during the last quarter. Standard Life Investments LTD boosted its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 24.9% during the 2nd quarter. Standard Life Investments LTD now owns 1,786,392 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $363,146,000 after acquiring an additional 356,199 shares during the last quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C boosted its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 19.6% during the 2nd 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 acquiring an additional 231,406 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 0.8% during the 2nd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,391,291 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $282,740,000 after acquiring an additional 11,248 shares during the last quarter.

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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.

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