Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Walgreens Boots' last-reported second quarter fiscal 2018 marked as the company's highest sales in the last eight quarters. Also, the company's increase in sales at the Retail Pharmacy International encourages us. Moreover, the company has been gaining on account of strategic tie-ups. We are currently looking forward to the company’s alliance with Express Scripts aiming to expand their existing group purchasing efforts. This apart, the company’s decision to acquire a 40% stake in Sinopharm Holding Guoda Drugstores in China looks promising as it should provide a strong impetus to Walgreens Boots’ worldwide retail pharmacy business. However, declining Retail Pharmacy sales was a disappointment. Also, the ongoing generic drug inflation is hurting Walgreens' pharmacy margin. The company faces tough competition along with currency fluctuations. Over the past month, Walgreens Boots has been underperforming its industry.”

Other research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. BidaskClub cut shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 8th. Leerink Swann cut their price target on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from $75.00 to $70.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, May 23rd. Barclays began coverage on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a report on Thursday, March 8th. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $76.00 price target for the company. Mizuho set a $77.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 29th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada set a $88.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, March 28th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating, twelve have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Walgreens Boots Alliance presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $81.95.



NASDAQ WBA opened at $67.79 on Wednesday. The stock has a market cap of $64.07 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.29, a PEG ratio of 1.04 and a beta of 1.14. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a 52-week low of $61.56 and a 52-week high of $83.89. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44, a current ratio of 0.90 and a quick ratio of 0.45.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, March 28th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.73 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.55 by $0.18. The firm had revenue of $33.02 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $32.20 billion. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a net margin of 3.33% and a return on equity of 20.38%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.36 earnings per share. sell-side analysts predict that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post 5.96 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.56, for a total value of $179,372.16. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 13,679 shares in the company, valued at $896,795.24. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 14.80% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WBA. Sei Investments Co. grew its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 31.2% in the fourth quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 143,188 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $10,398,000 after purchasing an additional 34,027 shares during the last quarter. Global Financial Private Capital LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $207,000. Global X Management Co. LLC boosted its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 12.3% during the fourth quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 9,188 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $667,000 after acquiring an additional 1,008 shares during the last quarter. Advanced Asset Management Advisors Inc acquired a new stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance during the fourth quarter worth approximately $917,000. Finally, Schroder Investment Management Group boosted its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 7.0% during the fourth quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 1,241,638 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $90,168,000 after acquiring an additional 81,075 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 60.25% of the company’s stock.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Company Profile

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc operates as a pharmacy-led health and wellbeing company. It operates through three segments: Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International, and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Retail Pharmacy USA segment sells prescription drugs and an assortment of general merchandise, including non-prescription drugs, beauty products, photo finishing, seasonal merchandise, greeting cards, and convenience foods through its retail drugstores and convenient care clinics.

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Analyst Recommendations for Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA)

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