Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Whirlpool has underperformed the sector in the past three months due to its dismal earnings surprise trend in the recent quarters. Evidently, the company delivered fourth consecutive negative surprise in second-quarter 2017. Further, the company slashed its earnings guidance for 2017 due to higher raw material costs and lower product price/mix in China and Europe. However, Whirlpool has been riding on its innovation strategy that helps it to tap additional sales and gain market share. Moreover, the company's solid integration and cost-productivity activities have been enhancing its performance. These factors, along with the company’s robust brands portfolio, and continued strength across North America and Latin America have been its growth drivers. Also, the company anticipates profitable growth in the EMEA region in the second half of 2017 and expects to navigate through the volatility in emerging markets.”

Several other research firms have also recently issued reports on WHR. ValuEngine raised shares of Whirlpool Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Monday, October 2nd. BidaskClub cut shares of Whirlpool Corporation from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Credit Suisse Group initiated coverage on shares of Whirlpool Corporation in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. They issued a neutral rating and a $208.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a top pick rating and issued a $216.00 price target (down from $226.00) on shares of Whirlpool Corporation in a report on Tuesday, June 20th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $193.33.

Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE WHR) opened at 181.33 on Thursday. Whirlpool Corporation has a 52-week low of $145.91 and a 52-week high of $202.99. The company has a 50 day moving average of $174.46 and a 200-day moving average of $180.31. The stock has a market capitalization of $13.23 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.15 and a beta of 1.76.

Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The company reported $3.35 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $3.54 by ($0.19). The company had revenue of $5.35 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.35 billion. Whirlpool Corporation had a net margin of 3.61% and a return on equity of 18.17%. The company’s revenue was up 2.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $3.50 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that Whirlpool Corporation will post $14.64 EPS for the current year.

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Whirlpool Corporation announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback plan on Wednesday, July 26th that allows the company to repurchase $2.35 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 16.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 15th. Investors of record on Friday, August 25th were issued a $1.10 dividend. This represents a $4.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.43%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 23rd. Whirlpool Corporation’s payout ratio is currently 44.04%.

In other Whirlpool Corporation news, Director William D. Perez purchased 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, July 31st. The stock was bought at an average cost of $176.93 per share, with a total value of $176,930.00. Following the acquisition, the director now owns 7,239 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,280,796.27. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. 2.69% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Dupont Capital Management Corp acquired a new position in shares of Whirlpool Corporation in the 2nd quarter valued at about $100,000. Sun Life Financial INC increased its holdings in shares of Whirlpool Corporation by 7,628.6% in the 2nd quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 541 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after purchasing an additional 534 shares during the period. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. increased its holdings in shares of Whirlpool Corporation by 26.5% in the 2nd quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 644 shares of the company’s stock valued at $123,000 after purchasing an additional 135 shares during the period. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Whirlpool Corporation in the 2nd quarter valued at about $153,000. Finally, Global X Management Co. LLC increased its holdings in shares of Whirlpool Corporation by 33.1% in the 1st quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 989 shares of the company’s stock valued at $169,000 after purchasing an additional 246 shares during the period. 91.47% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Whirlpool Corporation Company Profile

Whirlpool Corporation is a manufacturer and marketer of home appliances. The Company’s segments include North America; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); Latin America, and Asia. In North America, the Company markets and distributes home appliances and small domestic appliances under a range of brand names.

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