Acuity Brands (AYI) Lowered to Hold at Vertical Research

Vertical Research lowered shares of Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Monday, The Fly reports.

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on AYI. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Acuity Brands from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, January 12th. Williams Capital cut shares of Acuity Brands from a buy rating to a hold rating and reduced their price target for the company from $204.00 to $175.00 in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Robert W. Baird reiterated a hold rating and set a $198.00 price target on shares of Acuity Brands in a research report on Tuesday, January 9th. Seaport Global Securities reiterated a neutral rating on shares of Acuity Brands in a research report on Thursday, January 11th. Finally, Wells Fargo reiterated a market perform rating and set a $175.00 price target (down from $185.00) on shares of Acuity Brands in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $177.82.

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AYI stock opened at $130.52 on Monday. The company has a current ratio of 2.15, a quick ratio of 1.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.22. The company has a market capitalization of $5,514.30, a P/E ratio of 16.40, a P/E/G ratio of 1.72 and a beta of 1.33. Acuity Brands has a 1-year low of $119.02 and a 1-year high of $208.82.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 4th. The electronics maker reported $1.89 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.95 by ($0.06). Acuity Brands had a return on equity of 20.56% and a net margin of 9.68%. The company had revenue of $832.10 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $799.33 million. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.77 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.4% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that Acuity Brands will post 7.99 earnings per share for the current year.

Acuity Brands declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase program on Wednesday, April 4th that permits the company to repurchase 6,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the electronics maker to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, May 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, April 17th will be issued a $0.13 dividend. This represents a $0.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.40%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, April 16th. Acuity Brands’s dividend payout ratio is 6.53%.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB grew its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 3.6% in the fourth quarter. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB now owns 10,818 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $1,904,000 after purchasing an additional 376 shares during the last quarter. BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp grew its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 13.9% in the fourth quarter. BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp now owns 27,213 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $4,789,000 after purchasing an additional 3,322 shares during the last quarter. OLD Mutual Customised Solutions Proprietary Ltd. grew its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 60.0% in the fourth quarter. OLD Mutual Customised Solutions Proprietary Ltd. now owns 2,400 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $422,000 after purchasing an additional 900 shares during the last quarter. Slow Capital Inc. bought a new position in shares of Acuity Brands in the fourth quarter worth approximately $402,000. Finally, Peloton Wealth Strategists grew its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 13.4% in the fourth quarter. Peloton Wealth Strategists now owns 13,740 shares of the electronics maker’s stock worth $2,418,000 after purchasing an additional 1,625 shares during the last quarter.

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About Acuity Brands

Acuity Brands, Inc provides lighting and building management solutions and services for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure, and residential applications in North America and internationally. The company offers lighting and controls products and solutions, such as recessed, surface, and suspended lighting; down, decorative, emergency and exit, track, day, special-use, street and roadway, parking garage, landscape, and underwater lighting; area pedestrian, flood, and decorative site lighting; occupancy sensors; photo controls; relay panels; architectural dimming panels; and integrated lighting controls systems.

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