Medifast Inc (NYSE:MED) saw a large growth in short interest in the month of August. As of August 15th, there was short interest totalling 1,940,000 shares, a growth of 16.2% from the July 15th total of 1,669,200 shares. Currently, 17.0% of the company’s shares are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 259,200 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 7.5 days.

A number of brokerages recently commented on MED. Zacks Investment Research raised Medifast from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $116.00 target price for the company in a research report on Tuesday, August 6th. Jefferies Financial Group started coverage on Medifast in a research note on Thursday, July 25th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $130.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Medifast from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 9th.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Sandy Spring Bank bought a new position in Medifast in the second quarter valued at $26,000. Financial Gravity Wealth Inc. grew its stake in shares of Medifast by 853.8% during the second quarter. Financial Gravity Wealth Inc. now owns 248 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $32,000 after buying an additional 222 shares during the last quarter. Advisors Preferred LLC bought a new position in shares of Medifast during the second quarter valued at about $49,000. Anderson Fisher LLC bought a new position in shares of Medifast during the second quarter valued at about $80,000. Finally, Systematic Financial Management LP bought a new position in shares of Medifast during the second quarter valued at about $94,000. 97.90% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of NYSE:MED traded down $5.17 during trading on Thursday, hitting $98.57. 42,562 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 389,936. The company has a market cap of $1.25 billion, a PE ratio of 21.41 and a beta of 0.71. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $107.69 and a 200 day moving average of $128.20. Medifast has a 52-week low of $96.40 and a 52-week high of $260.98.

Medifast (NYSE:MED) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 1st. The specialty retailer reported $1.75 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.71 by $0.04. Medifast had a return on equity of 61.06% and a net margin of 11.22%. The company had revenue of $187.10 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $181.74 million. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.16 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 59.5% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Medifast will post 6.86 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, August 7th. Investors of record on Friday, June 28th were paid a $0.75 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, June 27th. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.04%. Medifast’s dividend payout ratio is presently 64.94%.

Medifast Company Profile

Medifast, Inc, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and distributes weight loss, weight management, healthy living products, and other consumable health and nutritional products. It offers bars, bites, pretzels, puffs, oatmeal and cereal crunch products, drinks, hearty choices, pancakes, puddings, soft serves, shakes, smoothies, soft bakes, and soups under the Medifast, OPTAVIA, Thrive by Medifast, Optimal Health by OPTAVIA, Flavors of Home, and Essential 1 brands.

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