BidaskClub lowered shares of Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Tuesday morning.

WFM has been the topic of several other research reports. Wolfe Research upgraded shares of Whole Foods Market from an underperform rating to a market perform rating in a report on Tuesday, May 2nd. Standpoint Research started coverage on shares of Whole Foods Market in a report on Tuesday, April 11th. They set a sell rating and a $28.00 price objective on the stock. Vetr downgraded shares of Whole Foods Market from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $38.12 price objective on the stock. in a report on Monday, April 10th. Credit Suisse Group restated an outperform rating and set a $40.00 price objective on shares of Whole Foods Market in a report on Sunday, April 23rd. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. restated an outperform rating and set a $40.00 price objective (up previously from $35.00) on shares of Whole Foods Market in a report on Friday, April 14th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty have assigned a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Whole Foods Market has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $37.67.

Whole Foods Market (WFM) traded up 0.10% during trading on Tuesday, reaching $41.82. The company had a trading volume of 3,866,079 shares. Whole Foods Market has a 12-month low of $27.67 and a 12-month high of $43.84. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $41.16 and a 200 day moving average price of $34.55. The stock has a market cap of $13.39 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.45 and a beta of 0.82.

Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.36 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.33 by $0.03. Whole Foods Market had a net margin of 2.44% and a return on equity of 13.26%. The company had revenue of $3.73 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.72 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.37 EPS. The business’s revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts predict that Whole Foods Market will post $1.32 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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Whole Foods Market declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback program on Wednesday, May 10th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.25 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to repurchase up to 10.8% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, July 11th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 30th were given a dividend of $0.18 per share. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.72%. This is a positive change from Whole Foods Market’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, June 28th. Whole Foods Market’s dividend payout ratio is presently 59.02%.

In related news, insider Juan Nunez sold 14,502 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $27.52, for a total value of $399,095.04. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 5,746 shares in the company, valued at $158,129.92. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Laura A. Derba sold 2,200 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.48, for a total transaction of $80,256.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 3,418 shares in the company, valued at $124,688.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 18,466 shares of company stock worth $543,688 over the last quarter. 1.30% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 3.6% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 30,861,862 shares of the company’s stock valued at $917,214,000 after buying an additional 1,081,667 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 3,657.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 26,099,592 shares of the company’s stock valued at $775,680,000 after buying an additional 25,404,982 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp raised its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 5.0% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 14,541,942 shares of the company’s stock valued at $432,186,000 after buying an additional 689,865 shares in the last quarter. Parnassus Investments CA raised its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 29.2% in the first quarter. Parnassus Investments CA now owns 7,825,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $232,559,000 after buying an additional 1,770,000 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Sustainable Growth Advisers LP raised its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 12.5% in the first quarter. Sustainable Growth Advisers LP now owns 6,483,692 shares of the company’s stock valued at $192,695,000 after buying an additional 720,923 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 89.32% of the company’s stock.

About Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market, Inc is engaged in the business of natural and organic foods supermarket. The Company operates approximately 456 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Its stores have an average size of approximately 39,000 square feet, and are supported by its distribution centers, bake house facilities, commissary kitchens, seafood-processing facilities, a produce procurement center, and a specialty coffee and tea procurement and roasting operation, among others.

Analyst Recommendations for Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM)

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