Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Dean Foods Company (NYSE:DF) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Dean Foods’ shares have underperformed the broader sector in the last six months, mainly due to its unimpressive earnings history. Notably, the company has reported negative earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters, with an average of 8.4%. Further, the company is facing severe competition from other dairy products suppliers due consolidations in the retail grocery industry. However, contributions from the recent Friendly’s acquisition have been boosting ice cream sales volumes. This is in turn aiding top line growth. We also applaud the company’s efforts to grow in the organic space, evident from its recent deals with Good Karma and Organic Valley as well as the acquisition of Uncle Matt's juices. Further, the company's focus on its cost productivity and growth plans bode well. While estimates for the second quarter have been stable lately, fiscal year estimates have witnessed a downtrend.”

DF has been the subject of several other reports. Wells Fargo & Company restated an outperform rating and set a $25.00 price target (up from $24.50) on shares of Dean Foods in a research report on Monday, May 15th. Jefferies Group LLC restated a buy rating and set a $24.00 price target on shares of Dean Foods in a research report on Wednesday, April 26th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Dean Foods from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 14th. Morgan Stanley restated an underweight rating and set a $15.00 price target (down from $18.00) on shares of Dean Foods in a research report on Tuesday, July 18th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered shares of Dean Foods from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $18.71.

Dean Foods (NYSE DF) opened at 15.05 on Thursday. Dean Foods has a 12 month low of $14.65 and a 12 month high of $22.31. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $16.62 and its 200 day moving average price is $18.58. The company has a market capitalization of $1.37 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.47 and a beta of 0.56.

Dean Foods (NYSE:DF) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 9th. The company reported $0.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.17 by $0.04. Dean Foods had a net margin of 0.91% and a return on equity of 19.34%. The business had revenue of $2 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.96 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.45 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that Dean Foods will post $1.31 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, Director J Wayne Mailloux sold 3,033 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $19.31, for a total transaction of $58,567.23. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 98,384 shares in the company, valued at $1,899,795.04. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 1.20% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Dean Foods by 4.9% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 11,508,667 shares of the company’s stock worth $226,260,000 after buying an additional 536,720 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Dean Foods by 12,150.7% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,254,859 shares of the company’s stock worth $221,271,000 after buying an additional 11,162,988 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in Dean Foods by 7.7% in the first quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 4,763,883 shares of the company’s stock worth $93,658,000 after buying an additional 339,447 shares in the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. raised its stake in Dean Foods by 474.7% in the first quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 2,264,750 shares of the company’s stock worth $44,525,000 after buying an additional 1,870,672 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC raised its stake in Dean Foods by 87.9% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 1,919,576 shares of the company’s stock worth $37,739,000 after buying an additional 897,824 shares in the last quarter.

About Dean Foods

Dean Foods Company is a food and beverage company. The Company processes and distributes fluid milk, and other dairy and dairy case products in the United States. It is engaged in manufacturing, marketing, selling and distributing a range of branded and private label dairy and dairy case products. It offers branded and private label dairy case products, including fluid milk, ice cream, cultured dairy products, creamers, ice cream mix and other dairy products to retailers, distributors, foodservice outlets, educational institutions and governmental entities across the United States.

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