Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “Over the past three months, Walgreens Boots has been outperforming its industry. The company's Retail Pharmacy USA division witnessed comparable prescription growth and benefited from a strong retail prescription market in the last reported quarter. Meanwhile, low prescription volume and continuing government reimbursement pressure in the United Kingdom, have been leading to sluggishness in Retail Pharmacy International division. However, solid pharmacy sales growth encourages us reflecting synergies from Rite Aid store addition. The company has been gaining on account of strategic tie-ups. We are looking forward to Walgreens Boots’ alliance with Express Scripts and Kroger aiming to expand its existing group purchasing efforts and product offerings respectively. Yet, the ongoing generic drug inflation is hurting Walgreens' pharmacy margin. Walgreens Boots faces tough competition along with currency fluctuations.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on WBA. BidaskClub upgraded Walgreens Boots Alliance from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Tuesday, August 21st. Robert W. Baird increased their price target on Walgreens Boots Alliance from $64.00 to $69.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Tuesday, September 11th. TheStreet upgraded Walgreens Boots Alliance from a c+ rating to a b rating in a report on Wednesday, September 12th. ValuEngine upgraded Walgreens Boots Alliance from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, September 21st. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada set a $82.00 price target on Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Monday, October 8th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Walgreens Boots Alliance currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $79.11.

Shares of NASDAQ WBA opened at $82.94 on Monday. The company has a current ratio of 0.82, a quick ratio of 0.38 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a fifty-two week low of $59.07 and a fifty-two week high of $86.31. The company has a market capitalization of $78.61 billion, a PE ratio of 13.78, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.29 and a beta of 0.76.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 11th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.48 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.45 by $0.03. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a return on equity of 21.75% and a net margin of 3.82%. The firm had revenue of $33.44 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $33.64 billion. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post 6.54 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, December 12th. Investors of record on Monday, November 12th will be paid a $0.44 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 8th. This represents a $1.76 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.12%. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 29.24%.

In other Walgreens Boots Alliance news, EVP Kathleen Wilson-Thompson sold 52,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.77, for a total transaction of $4,096,040.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 81,076 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,386,356.52. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.48, for a total value of $217,457.28. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 8,207 shares in the company, valued at approximately $652,292.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 73,756 shares of company stock worth $5,824,194. 14.80% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in the 2nd quarter worth $103,000. CSat Investment Advisory L.P. acquired a new stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in the 2nd quarter worth $104,000. Asset Dedication LLC boosted its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 204.6% in the 3rd quarter. Asset Dedication LLC now owns 1,578 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $115,000 after purchasing an additional 1,060 shares in the last quarter. Sun Life Financial INC boosted its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 803.5% in the 2nd quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 2,313 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $139,000 after purchasing an additional 2,057 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Capital Advisors Ltd. LLC boosted its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 1,150.3% in the 3rd quarter. Capital Advisors Ltd. LLC now owns 2,063 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $150,000 after purchasing an additional 1,898 shares in the last quarter. 62.59% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc operates as a pharmacy-led health and wellbeing company. It operates through three segments: Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International, and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Retail Pharmacy USA segment sells prescription drugs and an assortment of retail products, including health, beauty, personal care, consumable, and general merchandise products through its retail drugstores and convenient care clinics.

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