Gulf International Bank UK Ltd raised its position in Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) by 1.1% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 108,359 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 1,200 shares during the period. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd’s holdings in Whole Foods Market were worth $3,220,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of WFM. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of Whole Foods Market during the fourth quarter worth $165,510,000. Equity Investment Corp Acquisition Inc acquired a new position in shares of Whole Foods Market during the fourth quarter worth $67,167,000. Morgan Stanley raised its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 85.8% in the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 4,662,898 shares of the company’s stock worth $132,192,000 after buying an additional 2,152,964 shares in the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. acquired a new position in shares of Whole Foods Market during the fourth quarter worth $48,352,000. Finally, Holowesko Partners Ltd. acquired a new position in shares of Whole Foods Market during the third quarter worth $25,373,000. 85.46% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM)

Shares of Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) opened at 35.50 on Friday. Whole Foods Market, Inc. has a 12-month low of $27.67 and a 12-month high of $35.92. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $30.67 and its 200-day moving average price is $30.36. The company has a market cap of $11.31 billion, a PE ratio of 25.63 and a beta of 0.75.

Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 8th. The company reported $0.39 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.39. Whole Foods Market had a net margin of 2.81% and a return on equity of 14.57%. The business had revenue of $4.90 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.99 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.46 earnings per share. Whole Foods Market’s revenue was up 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Whole Foods Market, Inc. will post $1.33 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, April 18th. Shareholders of record on Friday, April 7th were paid a $0.14 dividend. This represents a $0.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.58%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, April 5th. Whole Foods Market’s payout ratio is presently 40.29%.

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A number of research firms have recently commented on WFM. Wells Fargo & Co restated a “hold” rating on shares of Whole Foods Market in a report on Wednesday, February 8th. Credit Suisse Group AG restated a “buy” rating and set a $36.00 price objective on shares of Whole Foods Market in a report on Wednesday, April 5th. Vetr upgraded Whole Foods Market from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $31.54 price objective for the company in a report on Thursday, January 5th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. restated an “outperform” rating on shares of Whole Foods Market in a report on Friday, February 10th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Whole Foods Market from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Monday, February 13th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have given a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $29.98.

In related news, Director John Elstrott sold 4,500 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, February 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $30.42, for a total transaction of $136,890.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 66,109 shares in the company, valued at $2,011,035.78. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Christina Minardi sold 2,061 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $29.30, for a total transaction of $60,387.30. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 1,461 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $42,807.30. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 26,006 shares of company stock valued at $796,182 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 1.30% 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.

5 Day Chart for NASDAQ:WFM

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