Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Yum! Brands has performed relatively well in the domestic and many key international markets. The strategic transformation plan of employing greater focus on the development of its three iconic global brands, increasing franchise ownership and creating a leaner, more efficient cost structure post the spin-off of its China division bodes well. In fact, the company’s efforts have started to reap benefits as shares have outpaced the industry, post separation. Enhanced focus on bold restaurant development and increased investments in technology-based initiatives should further drive growth. Notably, the company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters while estimates have been stable ahead of its second-quarter earnings release. Yet, macroeconomic concerns and negative currency translation raise concern while refranchising efforts is likely to take time to play out.”

YUM has been the subject of a number of other research reports. BidaskClub raised shares of Yum! Brands from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Saturday, June 24th. Cowen and Company lifted their target price on shares of Yum! Brands from $75.00 to $80.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, May 4th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reiterated an outperform rating and issued a $78.00 target price (up previously from $75.00) on shares of Yum! Brands in a research report on Tuesday, May 30th. Deutsche Bank AG restated a hold rating and set a $75.00 price target (up from $71.00) on shares of Yum! Brands in a research report on Monday, July 10th. Finally, Argus upgraded shares of Yum! Brands from a hold rating to a buy rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $69.95 to $80.00 in a research report on Tuesday, May 16th. Fifteen equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $77.41.

Yum! Brands (NYSE YUM) opened at 75.00 on Thursday. The stock has a market capitalization of $26.12 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.89 and a beta of 0.82. The company has a 50-day moving average of $73.84 and a 200-day moving average of $68.40. Yum! Brands has a one year low of $59.57 and a one year high of $91.99.

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 3rd. The restaurant operator reported $0.65 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.60 by $0.05. Yum! Brands had a net margin of 15.44% and a negative return on equity of 37.63%. The business had revenue of $1.42 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.38 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.95 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that Yum! Brands will post $2.77 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, August 4th. Stockholders of record on Friday, July 14th will be issued a $0.30 dividend. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.60%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, July 12th. Yum! Brands’s payout ratio is 31.17%.

In other news, CFO David W. Gibbs sold 8,125 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $68.83, for a total value of $559,243.75. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 39,181 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,696,828.23. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Brian R. Niccol sold 1,487 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, July 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $73.82, for a total transaction of $109,770.34. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 6,719 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $495,996.58. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 11,083 shares of company stock valued at $775,868. Company insiders own 7.38% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. USA Financial Portformulas Corp boosted its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 25.8% in the fourth quarter. USA Financial Portformulas Corp now owns 43,233 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $2,738,000 after buying an additional 8,880 shares in the last quarter. M Holdings Securities Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 3.0% in the fourth quarter. M Holdings Securities Inc. now owns 3,813 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $241,000 after buying an additional 112 shares in the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 21.8% in the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 509,014 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $32,236,000 after buying an additional 91,153 shares in the last quarter. Kentucky Retirement Systems acquired a new stake in shares of Yum! Brands during the fourth quarter worth $1,602,000. Finally, Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund acquired a new stake in shares of Yum! Brands during the fourth quarter worth $715,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.55% of the company’s stock.

About Yum! Brands

YUM! Brands, Inc is engaged in restaurant business. As of December 31, 2016, the Company operated or franchised over 43,500 restaurants in more than 135 countries and territories operating under the KFC, Pizza Hut or Taco Bell (collectively the Concepts) brands. The Company operates through three segments: The KFC Division, which includes the operations of the KFC concept around the world; The Pizza Hut Division, which includes the operations of the Pizza Hut concept around the world, and The Taco Bell Division, which includes the operations of the Taco Bell concept around the world.

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Analyst Recommendations for Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM)

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