Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Ulta Beauty outperformed the industry year to date, courtesy of its impressive surprise history. The company delivered robust first-quarter fiscal 2018 results, marking sales beat in 16 of the last 18 quarters. Also, the bottom line reverted to its more than three-year long positive earnings trend, after a miss in the preceding quarter. The company has been gaining from enhanced market share gains, solid marketing and store-growth initiatives, comps growth, impressive e-commerce improvement and continued progress on salon operations, which are significantly aiding the results. Notably, the company recorded 48% growth in e-commerce sales. Management raised its GAAP earnings view for fiscal 2018. However, the company has been witnessing soft operating margins for a while now due to higher expenses. Soft operating margin trends are likely to continue in fiscal 2018, which might also hurt its profitability.”

ULTA has been the subject of a number of other reports. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $268.00 target price on shares of Ulta Beauty and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, May 29th. Jefferies Financial Group set a $285.00 target price on shares of Ulta Beauty and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Monday, July 30th. Wells Fargo & Co set a $278.00 target price on shares of Ulta Beauty and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Monday, August 20th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Ulta Beauty from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Thursday, April 26th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Ulta Beauty from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, July 10th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, seventeen have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Ulta Beauty presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $265.24.

Shares of NASDAQ ULTA opened at $241.67 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $14.57 billion, a PE ratio of 29.62, a PEG ratio of 1.20 and a beta of 0.72. Ulta Beauty has a 12 month low of $187.96 and a 12 month high of $261.40.

Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 31st. The specialty retailer reported $2.70 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.48 by $0.22. Ulta Beauty had a net margin of 9.67% and a return on equity of 32.15%. The business had revenue of $1.54 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.52 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.91 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 17.4% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts predict that Ulta Beauty will post 10.84 EPS for the current year.

In other Ulta Beauty news, Director Charles J. Philippin sold 50,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $251.00, for a total transaction of $12,550,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 130,923 shares in the company, valued at $32,861,673. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, CFO Scott M. Settersten sold 7,032 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $253.09, for a total transaction of $1,779,728.88. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 9,380 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,373,984.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 80,432 shares of company stock valued at $20,206,877. 5.60% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ULTA. Profund Advisors LLC lifted its position in shares of Ulta Beauty by 3.8% during the first quarter. Profund Advisors LLC now owns 5,590 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $1,142,000 after purchasing an additional 204 shares in the last quarter. First National Bank of Omaha lifted its position in shares of Ulta Beauty by 0.5% during the second quarter. First National Bank of Omaha now owns 43,749 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $7,303,000 after purchasing an additional 223 shares in the last quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. lifted its position in shares of Ulta Beauty by 11.2% during the first quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 2,305 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $471,000 after purchasing an additional 232 shares in the last quarter. Huntington National Bank lifted its position in shares of Ulta Beauty by 120.0% during the second quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 440 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $103,000 after purchasing an additional 240 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Alpine Woods Capital Investors LLC lifted its position in shares of Ulta Beauty by 1.9% during the second quarter. Alpine Woods Capital Investors LLC now owns 13,502 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $3,152,000 after purchasing an additional 250 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 92.86% of the company’s stock.

Ulta Beauty Company Profile

Ulta Beauty, Inc operates as a beauty retailer in the United States. The company's stores offer cosmetics, fragrances, haircare and skincare products, bath and body products, and salon styling tools; salon services, including hair, skin, and brow services; and others, including nail products and accessories.

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