Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Meredith (MDP) to Hold

Meredith (NYSE:MDP) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday, December 27th.

According to Zacks, “Meredith has outperformed the industry in the past three months. The company’s strategic initiatives particularly in digital space, brand licensing activities, solid portfolio of television stations and robust earnings surprise history reinforce its position as one of the leading media and marketing companies. The company remains optimistic to generate solid no-political adverting revenues in Local Media Group attributable to robust demand for automotive and professional services. Moreover, the company’s recent merger agreement with Time Inc. for $2.8 billion cash, bodes well. Nevertheless, waning print media trends due to shift from traditional advertising and stiff competition continues to pose concerns for investors. Meanwhile, earnings in both the second quarter and fiscal 2018 are anticipated to decline year over year as the fiscal 2017 benefited from record political advertising revenues.”

Several other research firms have also recently weighed in on MDP. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Meredith from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, October 13th. Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $60.00 price target on shares of Meredith in a research report on Monday, October 16th. Wells Fargo & Co dropped their price target on shares of Meredith from $62.00 to $54.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Citigroup lowered shares of Meredith from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, December 1st. Finally, Benchmark reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price target (up previously from $67.00) on shares of Meredith in a research report on Monday, November 27th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Meredith currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $74.20.

Meredith (MDP) opened at $67.20 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $3,006.70, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.27, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.48 and a beta of 1.30. Meredith has a twelve month low of $50.62 and a twelve month high of $72.25. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64, a current ratio of 1.08 and a quick ratio of 1.04.

Meredith (NYSE:MDP) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The company reported $0.69 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.06. Meredith had a net margin of 11.04% and a return on equity of 18.24%. The firm had revenue of $393.00 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $397.50 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.75 earnings per share. Meredith’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.7% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts forecast that Meredith will post 3.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Meredith news, Director Frederick B. Henry sold 1,048 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.50, for a total value of $69,692.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Paul Karpowicz sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $68.61, for a total transaction of $343,050.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 35,024 shares of company stock worth $2,443,024 over the last three months. 4.00% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Russell Investments Group Ltd. boosted its position in shares of Meredith by 38.9% during the second quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 10,703 shares of the company’s stock worth $636,000 after purchasing an additional 2,999 shares in the last quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can boosted its holdings in shares of Meredith by 3.6% during the 2nd quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 22,810 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,355,000 after buying an additional 785 shares during the period. Sei Investments Co. boosted its holdings in shares of Meredith by 1,054.7% during the 2nd quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 8,083 shares of the company’s stock worth $480,000 after buying an additional 7,383 shares during the period. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its position in Meredith by 3.3% during the 2nd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 352,658 shares of the company’s stock worth $20,966,000 after purchasing an additional 11,185 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Arizona State Retirement System increased its position in Meredith by 2.0% in the 2nd quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 15,500 shares of the company’s stock valued at $921,000 after acquiring an additional 300 shares during the period. 97.26% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Meredith Company Profile

Meredith Corporation is a diversified media company. The Company is focused primarily on the home and family marketplace. The Company operates through two segments: Local Media and National Media. As of June 30, 2016, the Company’s Local Media segment includes 16 owned television stations, one managed television station and related digital and mobile media operations.

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