Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Acuity Brands has outperformed the industry year to date. Its leading market position, diversified portfolio of innovative lighting control solutions and energy-efficient luminaries are substantial growth drivers. The company is expanding its geographic borders and product portfolio via acquisitions and joint ventures. The company has been undertaking certain actions that are offsetting higher input cost and the impact of tariffs. Notably, its overall growth rate and adjusted gross profit margin grew sequentially in the last reported quarter, given solid price increases and other cost-saving actions. However, shift in key customers, changes in sales channel mix and higher input costs are pressing concerns for the company. Earnings estimates for fiscal 2019 have remained stable over the past 60 days, limiting upside potential for the stock.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also commented on AYI. ValuEngine raised Acuity Brands from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, April 4th. Robert W. Baird increased their price target on Acuity Brands from $150.00 to $160.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, April 4th. JMP Securities increased their price target on Acuity Brands from $176.00 to $184.00 and gave the company a market outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, April 4th. Wells Fargo & Co reissued a buy rating and issued a $155.00 price target (up from $146.00) on shares of Acuity Brands in a research report on Thursday, April 4th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group raised Acuity Brands from a sell rating to a neutral rating and set a $121.00 price target for the company in a research report on Wednesday, March 20th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the stock. Acuity Brands has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $151.33.

Shares of AYI opened at $143.98 on Monday. Acuity Brands has a 12-month low of $103.48 and a 12-month high of $173.01. The company has a current ratio of 2.11, a quick ratio of 1.40 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.19. The firm has a market capitalization of $5.68 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.52, a PEG ratio of 1.61 and a beta of 1.54.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, April 3rd. The electronics maker reported $1.99 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.78 by $0.21. Acuity Brands had a return on equity of 20.46% and a net margin of 8.63%. The company had revenue of $854.40 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $877.82 million. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.89 EPS. Acuity Brands’s quarterly revenue was up 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Acuity Brands will post 8.84 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, April 17th will be given a $0.13 dividend. This represents a $0.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.36%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, April 16th. Acuity Brands’s payout ratio is currently 6.33%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AYI. Arizona State Retirement System increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 0.9% during the 4th quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 28,773 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $3,307,000 after purchasing an additional 243 shares during the last quarter. Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 2.9% during the 4th quarter. Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC now owns 8,231 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $946,000 after purchasing an additional 229 shares during the last quarter. Guinness Atkinson Asset Management Inc increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 9.5% during the 4th quarter. Guinness Atkinson Asset Management Inc now owns 2,300 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $264,000 after purchasing an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. Great Lakes Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 238.2% during the 3rd quarter. Great Lakes Advisors LLC now owns 157,098 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $24,696,000 after purchasing an additional 110,644 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Shine Investment Advisory Services Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Acuity Brands during the 4th quarter valued at $33,000. 94.40% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Acuity Brands Company Profile

Acuity Brands, Inc provides lighting and building management solutions and services for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure, and residential applications in North America and internationally. The company offers lighting and control products and solutions, including recessed, surface, and suspended lighting; down, decorative, emergency and exit, track, day, special-use, street and roadway, parking garage, underwater, area pedestrian, flood, decorative site, and landscape lighting; occupancy sensors; photo controls; relay panels; architectural dimming panels; and integrated lighting controls systems.

Further Reading: Call Option Volume

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Acuity Brands (AYI)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI)

Receive News & Ratings for Acuity Brands Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Acuity Brands and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.