Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust held its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 3,475,398 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock at the end of the first quarter. Walgreens Boots Alliance makes up approximately 1.5% of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust’s holdings, making the stock its 12th largest position. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust’s holdings in Walgreens Boots Alliance were worth $288,632,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other large investors also recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Hudock Capital Group LLC increased its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.4% in the first quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,300 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $108,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the last quarter. Tarbox Group Inc. increased its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 288.3% in the first quarter. Tarbox Group Inc. now owns 1,355 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $113,000 after buying an additional 1,006 shares during the last quarter. Howe & Rusling Inc. increased its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 209.2% in the first quarter. Howe & Rusling Inc. now owns 1,441 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $120,000 after buying an additional 975 shares during the last quarter. Webster Bank N. A. increased its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 18.4% in the first quarter. Webster Bank N. A. now owns 1,509 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $125,000 after buying an additional 235 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Orrstown Financial Services Inc. increased its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 13.9% in the first quarter. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. now owns 1,515 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $126,000 after buying an additional 185 shares during the last quarter. 61.17% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ WBA) traded up 1.22% on Friday, reaching $80.72. 3,992,347 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $79.08 and its 200 day moving average price is $82.30. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. has a 52-week low of $75.18 and a 52-week high of $89.69. The company has a market cap of $86.38 billion, a PE ratio of 20.38 and a beta of 1.25.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 29th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.33 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.30 by $0.03. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a net margin of 3.69% and a return on equity of 17.34%. The firm had revenue of $30.12 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $29.72 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.18 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. will post $5.01 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 12th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 18th will be paid a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 16th. This is a positive change from Walgreens Boots Alliance’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.98%. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s payout ratio is currently 37.78%.

Walgreens Boots Alliance announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, June 29th that allows the company to buyback $5.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the pharmacy operator to purchase up to 5.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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Several equities research analysts have recently commented on WBA shares. Needham & Company LLC raised shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $94.00 target price for the company in a research report on Friday, June 30th. Pivotal Research set a $85.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Sunday, July 2nd. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 14th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $77.00 target price (down from $89.00) on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC decreased their target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from $95.00 to $80.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, May 31st. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $90.69.

In other news, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.79, for a total value of $218,305.44. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 19,151 shares in the company, valued at $1,528,058.29. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Insiders own 13.50% of the company’s stock.

About Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA)

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