Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of United Natural Foods Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “United Natural posted better-than-expected fourth quarter fiscal 2016 results, but remains cautious due to industry-wide weakness and declining gross margin. While net sales increased 7.4% year over year, driven by acquisitions, earnings of $0.70 per share declined 2.8% in the fourth quarter due to operating income margins. Gross margin expanded in the quarter, but continued to remain challenging due to competitive pricing pressure, moderated supplier promotional activity, and a reduction in fuel surcharges. Overall, we are impressed with the company’s focus on its acquisition strategies, efforts to increase its market share and improve operational efficiency. However, gross margin headwinds continue to remain a concern. Further, the company will face the pressure from food deflation, stiff competition, aggressive promotional environment and waning store traffic.”

Several other analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. TheStreet cut shares of United Natural Foods from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, September 8th. Vetr cut shares of United Natural Foods from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $37.14 price objective for the company. in a research note on Monday, May 23rd. BMO Capital Markets set a $45.00 price objective on shares of United Natural Foods and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 13th. Royal Bank Of Canada upped their price objective on shares of United Natural Foods from $33.00 to $34.00 and gave the company a sector perform rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. Finally, RBC Capital Markets set a $34.00 price objective on shares of United Natural Foods and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. United Natural Foods has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $44.48.

Shares of United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) opened at 38.55 on Thursday. The company has a market cap of $1.94 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.42 and a beta of 1.03. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $45.75 and its 200 day moving average is $42.03. United Natural Foods has a 1-year low of $29.75 and a 1-year high of $55.69.

United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, September 12th. The company reported $0.70 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.07. United Natural Foods had a net margin of 1.48% and a return on equity of 8.85%. The company earned $2.21 billion during the quarter. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.72 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 7.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that United Natural Foods will post $2.60 earnings per share for the current year.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of UNFI. Mason Street Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of United Natural Foods during the second quarter worth approximately $1,074,000. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of United Natural Foods by 4.7% in the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 213,106 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,974,000 after buying an additional 9,539 shares during the period. Stifel Financial Corp increased its stake in shares of United Natural Foods by 2.8% in the second quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 11,416 shares of the company’s stock worth $534,000 after buying an additional 307 shares during the period. Amalgamated Bank increased its stake in shares of United Natural Foods by 11.9% in the second quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 6,170 shares of the company’s stock worth $305,000 after buying an additional 657 shares during the period. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc increased its stake in shares of United Natural Foods by 27.3% in the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 34,813 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,617,000 after buying an additional 7,468 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 97.91% of the company’s stock.

United Natural Foods Company Profile

United Natural Foods, Inc is a distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods and non-food products in the United States and Canada. It offers products, in six product categories: grocery and general merchandise, produce, perishables and frozen foods, nutritional supplements and sports nutrition, bulk and food service products and personal care items.

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