Pictet Asset Management Ltd. lowered its stake in Acuity Brands Inc (NYSE:AYI) by 8.6% during the second quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 170,230 shares of the electronics maker’s stock after selling 16,117 shares during the period. Pictet Asset Management Ltd.’s holdings in Acuity Brands were worth $27,732,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. raised its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 34.7% in the first quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. now owns 3,278 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $669,000 after buying an additional 844 shares in the last quarter. Nippon Life Insurance Co. raised its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 134.5% in the first quarter. Nippon Life Insurance Co. now owns 5,402 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $1,102,000 after buying an additional 3,098 shares in the last quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama raised its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 86.9% in the first quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama now owns 127,114 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $25,931,000 after buying an additional 59,108 shares in the last quarter. Bright Rock Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 33.3% in the first quarter. Bright Rock Capital Management LLC now owns 8,000 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $1,632,000 after buying an additional 2,000 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cim LLC raised its position in shares of Acuity Brands by 9.1% in the first quarter. Cim LLC now owns 1,956 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $399,000 after buying an additional 163 shares in the last quarter. 95.15% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Acuity Brands Inc (NYSE:AYI) opened at 185.08 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $7.98 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.82 and a beta of 1.41. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $197.44 and a 200 day moving average price of $192.92. Acuity Brands Inc has a 52 week low of $157.33 and a 52 week high of $280.89.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, June 29th. The electronics maker reported $2.15 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.03 by $0.12. The firm had revenue of $891.60 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $878.66 million. Acuity Brands had a net margin of 9.04% and a return on equity of 19.89%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $2.06 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Acuity Brands Inc will post $8.31 EPS for the current year.

Acuity Brands declared that its board has initiated a share buyback program on Thursday, June 29th that authorizes the company to repurchase 2,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the electronics maker to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, July 18th were paid a $0.13 dividend. This represents a $0.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.28%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, July 14th. Acuity Brands’s payout ratio is currently 7.24%.

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Several research analysts recently issued reports on the company. JMP Securities reaffirmed an “underperform” rating and set a $183.00 target price (up from $170.00) on shares of Acuity Brands in a research report on Friday, June 30th. Deutsche Bank AG raised their target price on Acuity Brands from $215.00 to $245.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 30th. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $215.00 target price on shares of Acuity Brands in a research report on Friday, June 30th. BidaskClub raised Acuity Brands from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, July 1st. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. lowered their target price on Acuity Brands from $265.00 to $215.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday, July 4th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $219.00.

In related news, Director Peter C. Browning sold 970 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $200.05, for a total value of $194,048.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 1,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $200,050. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Mark A. Black sold 5,427 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $205.29, for a total transaction of $1,114,108.83. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.40% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Acuity Brands Company Profile

Acuity Brands, Inc is a provider of lighting solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications throughout North America and other international markets. The Company operates through North American segment. The Company offers a portfolio of indoor and outdoor lighting and building management solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI)

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