The GEO Group (GEO) Raised to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of The GEO Group (NYSE:GEO) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “The GEO Group, Inc. is an equity real estate investment trust. It specializes in the design, development, financing and operation of correctional, detention and community reentry facilities. It has operations in the United States, Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The GEO Group, Inc. is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida. “

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. ValuEngine cut The GEO Group from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. SunTrust Banks reiterated a buy rating and set a $32.00 price target on shares of The GEO Group in a research report on Wednesday, January 31st. Finally, TheStreet upgraded The GEO Group from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 28th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $33.47.

Shares of The GEO Group (NYSE GEO) opened at $20.11 on Friday. The GEO Group has a 52 week low of $19.05 and a 52 week high of $34.32. The stock has a market capitalization of $2,495.06, a PE ratio of 16.62, a P/E/G ratio of 1.70 and a beta of 1.32. The company has a quick ratio of 1.27, a current ratio of 1.57 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.13.

The GEO Group (NYSE:GEO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 14th. The real estate investment trust reported $0.38 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.35 by $0.03. The GEO Group had a return on equity of 13.95% and a net margin of 6.46%. The business had revenue of $568.98 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $558.72 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.41 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up .4% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts anticipate that The GEO Group will post 1.98 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The GEO Group announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, February 14th that authorizes the company to buyback $200.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the real estate investment trust to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, February 27th. Stockholders of record on Friday, February 16th will be given a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 9.35%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, February 15th. The GEO Group’s dividend payout ratio is presently 155.37%.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in GEO. Advisor Group Inc. increased its position in shares of The GEO Group by 115.1% during the fourth quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 4,869 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 2,605 shares during the period. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of The GEO Group during the fourth quarter valued at about $197,000. Toronto Dominion Bank increased its position in shares of The GEO Group by 50.0% during the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 6,901 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $204,000 after buying an additional 2,300 shares during the period. Verition Fund Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of The GEO Group during the fourth quarter valued at about $228,000. Finally, Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. bought a new stake in shares of The GEO Group during the third quarter valued at about $248,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 94.38% of the company’s stock.

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About The GEO Group

The GEO Group, Inc is a real estate investment trust (REIT) specializing in the ownership, leasing and management of correctional, detention and re-entry facilities and the provision of community-based services and youth services in the United States, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Canada.

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