Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE:STZ) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $186.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Constellation Brands boasts a portfolio of well-known brands and is the largest wine company in the world, which gives it a competitive edge and bolsters its solid market position. The company’s focus on brand building and efforts to include new products in its wine and spirits portfolio are key growth drivers. Also, it remains committed to expanding operations directed toward achieving business growth, as is evident from its numerous acquisitions. These factors, coupled with strong beer business also helped the company to post its seventh straight earnings beat in the last reported quarter. However, the risk of increasing taxes continues to be a concern for the company. Intense competition, currency fluctuations and seasonal nature of the company’s business can also dent its operating performance. Nonetheless, estimates have been largely stable going into the second quarter earnings release.”

Other equities analysts have also issued reports about the stock. SunTrust Banks Inc. restated a buy rating and issued a $180.00 price objective on shares of Constellation Brands in a report on Friday, June 3rd. Morgan Stanley restated a buy rating on shares of Constellation Brands in a report on Thursday, September 15th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. restated a buy rating on shares of Constellation Brands in a report on Friday, July 15th. Wells Fargo & Co. restated a buy rating on shares of Constellation Brands in a report on Thursday, June 30th. Finally, Susquehanna restated a hold rating and issued a $155.00 price objective on shares of Constellation Brands in a report on Tuesday, June 28th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $174.46.

Shares of Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) opened at 165.79 on Friday. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $164.88 and a 200 day moving average of $158.53. Constellation Brands has a 52 week low of $122.35 and a 52 week high of $168.68. The firm has a market capitalization of $33.24 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.87 and a beta of 0.72.

Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, June 30th. The company reported $1.54 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.52 by $0.02. Constellation Brands had a net margin of 15.53% and a return on equity of 17.66%. The firm had revenue of $1.87 billion for the quarter. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.26 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 14.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts expect that Constellation Brands will post $6.31 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, August 24th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, August 10th were issued a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Monday, August 8th. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.97%. Constellation Brands’s dividend payout ratio is presently 28.78%.

In other news, CFO David Eric Klein sold 14,300 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $166.27, for a total value of $2,377,661.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 36,152 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,010,993.04. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP William F. Hackett sold 8,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $164.67, for a total transaction of $1,317,360.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 54,934 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,045,981.78. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 10.63% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in STZ. Egerton Capital UK LLP bought a new position in shares of Constellation Brands during the second quarter worth about $305,544,000. Norges Bank bought a new position in shares of Constellation Brands during the fourth quarter worth about $139,769,000. Lone Pine Capital LLC increased its position in shares of Constellation Brands by 13.1% in the second quarter. Lone Pine Capital LLC now owns 6,666,012 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,102,558,000 after buying an additional 769,791 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can bought a new position in shares of Constellation Brands during the second quarter worth about $75,993,000. Finally, Newbrook Capital Advisors LP bought a new position in shares of Constellation Brands during the first quarter worth about $64,138,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.05% of the company’s stock.

About Constellation Brands

Constellation Brands, Inc is an international beverage alcohol company. The Company is a producer and marketer of beer and wine the United States and Canada. Its segments include Beer, Wine and Spirits, and Corporate Operations and Other. It is a multi-category supplier (beer, wine and spirits) of beverage alcohol in the United States.

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