Clorox (CLX) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Clorox (NYSE:CLX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Clorox outperformed the industry in the past three months driven by a robust earnings surprise history. In fourth-quarter fiscal 2018, the company reported seventh straight earnings beat. Although sales missed estimates, it increased year over year owing to gains from the Nutranext acquisition. The improvement was somewhat compensated by negative impact of both Aplicare divestiture and foreign currency exchange rates, particularly in Argentina. Higher volumes driven by innovation and rise in prices also contributed to revenue growth. For fiscal 2019, management issued an encouraging outlook. However, the company has been witnessing strained gross margins for a while now due to higher elevated commodity and logistics expenses. Unfortunately, this is likely to continue in fiscal 2019. Nevertheless, the company remains well on track with its 2020 Strategy, which is aimed at bolstering growth for the improvement of categories and overall market share.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Argus upgraded shares of Clorox from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $175.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, September 25th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Clorox from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, September 22nd. BMO Capital Markets restated a buy rating and issued a $153.00 target price on shares of Clorox in a research note on Friday, August 3rd. Atlantic Securities initiated coverage on shares of Clorox in a research note on Thursday, September 20th. They issued a neutral rating and a $151.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Bank of America upped their target price on shares of Clorox from $130.00 to $140.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Monday, July 16th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $137.00.

Shares of CLX stock opened at $149.58 on Friday. Clorox has a 12 month low of $113.57 and a 12 month high of $153.38. The company has a current ratio of 1.09, a quick ratio of 0.67 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.15. The firm has a market capitalization of $19.21 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.89, a PEG ratio of 3.11 and a beta of 0.36.

Clorox (NYSE:CLX) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 2nd. The company reported $1.66 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.58 by $0.08. Clorox had a net margin of 13.44% and a return on equity of 103.18%. The firm had revenue of $1.69 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.72 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.53 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts forecast that Clorox will post 6.41 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 16th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, October 31st will be paid a $0.96 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 30th. This represents a $3.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.57%. Clorox’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 61.34%.

In related news, EVP Linda J. Rendle sold 382 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $148.32, for a total transaction of $56,658.24. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, SVP Michael R. Costello sold 9,265 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $140.02, for a total transaction of $1,297,285.30. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 34,293 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,801,705.86. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 29,268 shares of company stock worth $4,196,686. Company insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Ostrum Asset Management bought a new stake in shares of Clorox during the 1st quarter valued at about $112,000. Fort L.P. bought a new stake in shares of Clorox during the 2nd quarter valued at about $129,000. IMS Capital Management bought a new stake in shares of Clorox during the 2nd quarter valued at about $161,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Clorox during the 2nd quarter valued at about $199,000. Finally, Northstar Investment Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Clorox during the 2nd quarter valued at about $202,000. 78.36% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Clorox Company Profile

The Clorox Company manufactures and markets consumer and professional products worldwide. It operates through four segments: Cleaning, Household, Lifestyle, and International. The company offers laundry additives, including bleach products under the Clorox brand, as well as Clorox 2 stain fighter and color booster; home care products primarily under the Clorox, Formula 409, Liquid-Plumr, Pine-Sol, S.O.S, and Tilex brands; naturally derived products under the Green Works brand; and professional cleaning, disinfecting, and food service products under the Clorox, Dispatch, HealthLink, Clorox Healthcare, Hidden Valley, KC Masterpiece, and Soy Vay brands.

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