Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Sunday. The firm presently has a $85.00 price objective on the pharmacy operator’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would indicate a potential upside of 9.82% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Walgreens Boots reported an impressive first quarter of fiscal 2018. We are encouraged by the increase in sales at the Retail Pharmacy International. Moreover, Walgreens Boots has been gaining on account of strategic tie-ups, which brought more patients to its U.S. pharmacies. We are particularly upbeat about the limited number of Rite Aid stores acquisition deal for which the company got regulatory approval recently. Also, we are upbeat about the company expanding global footprint with its decision to acquire a 40% stake in Sinopharm Holding Guoda Drugstores in China which should provide a strong impetus to Walgreens Boots’ worldwide retail pharmacy business. Accordingly, over the past three months, Walgreens Boots has been trading above the broader industry. However, declining sales at the Retail Pharmacy was a disappointment. The company faces tough competition along with currency fluctuations.”

Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Needham & Company LLC restated a “buy” rating and issued a $88.00 target price (up from $86.00) on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. BidaskClub upgraded Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. Loop Capital set a $90.00 target price on Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Robert W. Baird restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $80.00 target price (down from $90.00) on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a report on Thursday, October 19th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Citigroup dropped their target price on Walgreens Boots Alliance from $95.00 to $81.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. Ten investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fourteen have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $86.35.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) opened at $77.40 on Friday. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a 52 week low of $63.82 and a 52 week high of $88.00. The company has a quick ratio of 0.47, a current ratio of 0.96 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48. The company has a market capitalization of $76,650.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.38, a P/E/G ratio of 1.29 and a beta of 1.22.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, January 4th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.28 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $30.74 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $30.39 billion. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a return on equity of 19.15% and a net margin of 3.19%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.10 EPS. equities analysts predict that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post 5.71 earnings per share for the current year.

Walgreens Boots Alliance declared that its board has authorized a share repurchase program on Wednesday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the pharmacy operator to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, Director John Anthony Lederer bought 20,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 26th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $67.00 per share, for a total transaction of $1,340,000.00. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 50,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,350,000. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Stefano Pessina bought 98,858 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 15th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $76.07 per share, with a total value of $7,520,128.06. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 14.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Pathstone Family Office LLC raised its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 226.6% in the 2nd quarter. Pathstone Family Office LLC now owns 1,179 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $1,969,000 after purchasing an additional 818 shares in the last quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC raised its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 0.5% in the 2nd quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,306 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $102,000 after purchasing an additional 6 shares in the last quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. raised its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 10.4% in the 2nd quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,325 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $102,000 after purchasing an additional 125 shares in the last quarter. Zions Bancorporation raised its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 983.3% in the 3rd quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 1,365 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $105,000 after purchasing an additional 1,239 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bristlecone Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance in the 3rd quarter valued at about $135,000. Institutional investors own 61.15% of the company’s stock.

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About Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).

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