Medifast (NYSE:MED) Downgraded by Dougherty & Co to “Neutral”

Dougherty & Co lowered shares of Medifast (NYSE:MED) from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research note published on Friday morning, Briefing.com Automated Import reports.

Several other analysts have also commented on the company. DA Davidson lowered Medifast from a buy rating to a neutral rating and decreased their price objective for the company from $250.00 to $74.00 in a report on Friday. Jefferies Financial Group assumed coverage on Medifast in a report on Thursday, July 25th. They set a buy rating and a $130.00 price objective for the company. Zacks Investment Research lowered Medifast from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, October 3rd. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Medifast from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, October 2nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. Medifast has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $134.00.

Shares of MED traded down $27.64 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $74.36. 3,379,003 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 294,247. Medifast has a 1 year low of $66.50 and a 1 year high of $165.70. The firm’s fifty day moving average is $103.69 and its 200-day moving average is $117.92. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.33 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.10 and a beta of 0.71.

Medifast (NYSE:MED) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 7th. The specialty retailer reported $1.32 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.33 by ($0.01). Medifast had a net margin of 11.22% and a return on equity of 61.06%. The business had revenue of $190.10 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $194.70 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.14 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 36.5% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts expect that Medifast will post 6.86 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a — dividend, which was paid on Thursday, November 7th. Investors of record on Friday, September 27th were given a $0.75 dividend. This represents a dividend yield of 2.8%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 26th. Medifast’s payout ratio is 64.94%.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Medifast by 1.0% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,708,118 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $219,152,000 after acquiring an additional 16,839 shares during the period. Hoplite Capital Management L.P. increased its position in shares of Medifast by 55.9% in the 2nd quarter. Hoplite Capital Management L.P. now owns 408,828 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $52,453,000 after acquiring an additional 146,568 shares during the period. Rice Hall James & Associates LLC increased its position in shares of Medifast by 133.4% in the 3rd quarter. Rice Hall James & Associates LLC now owns 342,210 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $35,463,000 after acquiring an additional 195,604 shares during the period. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. increased its position in shares of Medifast by 56.7% in the 2nd quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 292,731 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $37,557,000 after acquiring an additional 105,886 shares during the period. Finally, Nuveen Asset Management LLC increased its position in shares of Medifast by 4,753.4% in the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 178,507 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $22,902,000 after acquiring an additional 174,829 shares during the period. 97.24% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Medifast

Medifast, Inc, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and distributes weight loss, weight management, healthy living products, and other consumable health and nutritional products. It offers bars, bites, pretzels, puffs, oatmeal and cereal crunch products, drinks, hearty choices, pancakes, puddings, soft serves, shakes, smoothies, soft bakes, and soups under the Medifast, OPTAVIA, Thrive by Medifast, Optimal Health by OPTAVIA, Flavors of Home, and Essential 1 brands.

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