Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday. The firm presently has a $81.00 target price on the pharmacy operator’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would indicate a potential upside of 11.02% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Over the past year Walgreens Boots has been underperforming its industry. The company seeing declining Retail Pharmacy sales in the last reported quarter was a disappointment. Also, the ongoing generic drug inflation is hurting Walgreens' pharmacy margin. the company's decision to reduce stake in Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals in China is a concern. Walgreens Boots faces tough competition along with currency fluctuations. However, solid pharmacy sales growth encourages us. Moreover, the company has been gaining on account of strategic tie-ups. We are looking forward to Walgreens Boots’ alliance with Express Scripts aiming to expand their existing group purchasing efforts. This apart, the company’s decision to acquire a 40% stake in Sinopharm Guoda in China looks promising. Investors are also encouraged on Walgreens Boots entering into the world’s most coveted index DJIA.”

A number of other research firms have also commented on WBA. TheStreet raised shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 12th. BidaskClub raised shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 18th. Mizuho set a $77.00 price target on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 29th. Loop Capital lifted their price target on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance to $80.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 29th. Finally, Jefferies Financial Group lowered shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and dropped their price target for the company from $85.00 to $65.00 in a research report on Friday, June 29th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $77.11.

NASDAQ WBA opened at $72.96 on Tuesday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.47, a current ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44. The company has a market capitalization of $71.65 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.31, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.10 and a beta of 1.09. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a 12-month low of $59.07 and a 12-month high of $80.68.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, June 28th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.53 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.47 by $0.06. The firm had revenue of $34.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $34.15 billion. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a net margin of 3.36% and a return on equity of 21.22%. The company’s revenue was up 14.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.33 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post 5.97 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, insider Stefano Pessina bought 1,697,438 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 16th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $63.92 per share, with a total value of $108,500,236.96. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.99, for a total transaction of $180,548.64. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 10,943 shares in the company, valued at approximately $722,128.57. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 14.80% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Archford Capital Strategies LLC bought a new position in Walgreens Boots Alliance during the first quarter worth $115,000. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC bought a new position in Walgreens Boots Alliance during the second quarter worth $103,000. CSat Investment Advisory L.P. acquired a new stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance during the second quarter worth $104,000. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC acquired a new stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance during the second quarter worth $106,000. Finally, Kaizen Advisory LLC boosted its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 128.6% during the second quarter. Kaizen Advisory LLC now owns 1,925 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $116,000 after buying an additional 1,083 shares in the last quarter. 61.92% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Company Profile

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 general merchandise, including non-prescription drugs, beauty products, photo finishing, seasonal merchandise, greeting cards, and convenience foods through its retail drugstores and convenient care clinics.

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