Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Universal Forest Products (NASDAQ:UFPI) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “In the last three months, shares of Universal Forest Products have outperformed the industry. We believe that strengthening demand in the U.S. construction market, addition of customers, new product launches and synergistic benefits from acquired assets will bode well for the company in the long run. Also, returning value to shareholders remains a priority. In October, a 13.3% increase in semi-annual dividend rate was declared while it paid stock dividend in November. However, the company is exposed to risks arising from higher costs and expenses and lumber market volatility. Also, headwinds like adverse foreign currency movements, geopolitical issues and stiff competition might prove detrimental to its profitability in the quarters ahead. Earnings estimates on the stock remained stable for both 2017 and 2018 in the last 60 days.”

UFPI has been the subject of several other reports. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Universal Forest Products from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 12th. BMO Capital Markets initiated coverage on shares of Universal Forest Products in a research note on Tuesday, October 17th. They set a market perform rating and a $36.67 price objective for the company. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $39.17.

Universal Forest Products (NASDAQ UFPI) traded down $0.59 during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $37.81. 269,100 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 365,252. The company has a quick ratio of 1.40, a current ratio of 2.62 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.15. Universal Forest Products has a fifty-two week low of $25.93 and a fifty-two week high of $39.58. The stock has a market capitalization of $2,349.09, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.61, a P/E/G ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 1.83.

Universal Forest Products (NASDAQ:UFPI) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 17th. The construction company reported $0.55 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.52 by $0.03. Universal Forest Products had a net margin of 2.85% and a return on equity of 12.05%. The business had revenue of $1.06 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $984.99 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.45 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 27.8% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts forecast that Universal Forest Products will post 1.87 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a semiannual dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Friday, December 1st were given a dividend of $0.17 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, November 30th. This is an increase from Universal Forest Products’s previous semiannual dividend of $0.15. This represents a yield of 0.31%. Universal Forest Products’s payout ratio is currently 19.14%.

In related news, VP Charles Scott Greene sold 3,299 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $37.00, for a total transaction of $122,063.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Robert D. Coleman sold 4,100 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $111.41, for a total transaction of $456,781.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 1,680 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $187,168.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 38,899 shares of company stock valued at $2,159,694 over the last 90 days. 3.40% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Aperio Group LLC raised its position in shares of Universal Forest Products by 5.4% in the second quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 6,507 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $568,000 after acquiring an additional 331 shares during the period. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can raised its position in shares of Universal Forest Products by 4.4% in the second quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 29,559 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $2,581,000 after acquiring an additional 1,240 shares during the period. Sei Investments Co. raised its position in shares of Universal Forest Products by 15.9% in the second quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 21,128 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $1,845,000 after acquiring an additional 2,905 shares during the period. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board acquired a new position in shares of Universal Forest Products in the second quarter worth about $2,095,000. Finally, Arizona State Retirement System raised its position in shares of Universal Forest Products by 0.9% in the second quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 10,723 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $936,000 after acquiring an additional 100 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 26.69% of the company’s stock.

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Universal Forest Products Company Profile

Universal Forest Products, Inc is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, supplies wood, wood composite and other products to three primary markets, such as retail, construction and industrial. Its segments include North, South, West, Alternative Materials, International, idX Holdings, Inc (idX) and Corporate divisions.

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