Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday. The firm presently has a $37.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target indicates a potential upside of 14.59% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Penn National, which have outperformed the industry in the past year, should continue to grow after the company posted better-than-expected earnings results in the second quarter of 2018. The company’s initiatives — involving both revenue-boosting and cost saving initiatives — are expected to reap recurring benefits over the years. Through ongoing refinements in procurement, marketing and labor management, it has reported margin growth in the second quarter of 2018. Further, the acquisition of Pinnacle is also expected to provide Penn National with significant synergies in the future. Earnings estimates for the current year have also inched up over the past 60 days, reflecting analysts’ optimism. However, a competitive operating environment and weather-related concerns are potential headwinds for the company.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on PENN. ValuEngine cut Penn National Gaming from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 26th. BidaskClub cut Penn National Gaming from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 19th. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on Penn National Gaming from $31.00 to $36.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 26th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. initiated coverage on Penn National Gaming in a research report on Friday, June 8th. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $40.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Jefferies Financial Group set a $40.00 price target on Penn National Gaming and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, July 27th. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eight have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $36.45.

Shares of PENN traded up $0.49 during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $32.29. 27,026 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,038,198. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 162.63, a quick ratio of 0.63 and a current ratio of 0.63. Penn National Gaming has a twelve month low of $22.20 and a twelve month high of $36.90. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.00 billion, a P/E ratio of 3.59, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.86 and a beta of 1.61.

Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, July 26th. The company reported $0.57 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.08. Penn National Gaming had a return on equity of 268.43% and a net margin of 18.02%. The business had revenue of $826.91 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $840.15 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.18 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 3.8% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts forecast that Penn National Gaming will post 1.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Penn National Gaming news, CEO Timothy J. Wilmott sold 94,013 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.43, for a total transaction of $3,424,893.59. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 513,967 shares in the company, valued at approximately $18,723,817.81. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CEO Timothy J. Wilmott sold 17,536 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $35.05, for a total value of $614,636.80. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 530,403 shares in the company, valued at approximately $18,590,625.15. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 193,134 shares of company stock worth $6,909,612 in the last quarter. 10.56% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in Penn National Gaming during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $128,000. Connable Office Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Penn National Gaming during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $208,000. PHH Investments Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of Penn National Gaming during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $252,000. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Penn National Gaming during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $275,000. Finally, Cambria Investment Management L.P. purchased a new stake in shares of Penn National Gaming during the 1st quarter worth approximately $292,000. Institutional investors own 98.95% of the company’s stock.

Penn National Gaming Company Profile

Penn National Gaming, Inc owns and manages gaming and racing facilities, and operates video gaming terminals with a focus on slot machine entertainment. The company operates through Northeast, South/West, and Midwest segments. As of December 31, 2017, it operated 27 facilities in 17 jurisdictions, including California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Ontario, Canada.

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