SYSCO (SYY) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of SYSCO (NYSE:SYY) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has $74.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Sysco’s shares have gained and outpaced the industry in the past three months. The company has been benefitting from strength of its U.S. Foodservice operations, wherein local case volumes have been rising for 19 straight quarters now, with rising restaurant sales remaining a major driver. Apart from this, we also commend Sysco’s focus on its key growth strategies for 2020, which include enhancing consumers’ experience; optimizing business; stimulating power of its people and achieving operational efficacy. These upsides, along with focus on buyouts and cost-containment efforts should provide the company cushion against rising cost woes and a mixed international unit performance. Well, during the second quarter of fiscal 2019, operating expenses in the U.S. Foodservice unit escalated 4.7% on account of increased supply-chain costs across warehouse and transportation. Also, adverse currency translations is a worry.”

SYY has been the topic of several other research reports. Pivotal Research restated a sell rating and set a $54.00 price objective on shares of SYSCO in a research note on Friday, February 1st. Loop Capital set a $75.00 price objective on SYSCO and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 5th. Finally, Bank of America cut SYSCO from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $68.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, January 16th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $73.00.

Shares of SYY opened at $65.56 on Tuesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $33.84 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.16, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.88 and a beta of 0.54. SYSCO has a one year low of $58.12 and a one year high of $75.98. The company has a quick ratio of 0.76, a current ratio of 1.25 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.70.

SYSCO (NYSE:SYY) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 4th. The company reported $0.75 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.72 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $14.80 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $14.75 billion. SYSCO had a return on equity of 71.45% and a net margin of 2.48%. SYSCO’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.78 earnings per share. On average, research analysts anticipate that SYSCO will post 3.4 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 26th. Shareholders of record on Friday, April 5th will be paid a dividend of $0.39 per share. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.38%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, April 4th. SYSCO’s payout ratio is currently 49.68%.

In other SYSCO news, EVP Robert S. Charlton sold 22,321 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.83, for a total transaction of $1,469,391.43. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 61,460 shares in the company, valued at $4,045,911.80. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Russell T. Libby sold 60,156 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.40, for a total value of $3,813,890.40. Following the sale, the insider now owns 62,597 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,968,649.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 789,477 shares of company stock worth $52,157,382 in the last 90 days. 7.88% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in SYY. Sontag Advisory LLC acquired a new stake in shares of SYSCO during the 4th quarter worth approximately $25,000. Focused Wealth Management Inc raised its position in shares of SYSCO by 244.1% during the 4th quarter. Focused Wealth Management Inc now owns 468 shares of the company’s stock worth $29,000 after purchasing an additional 332 shares during the period. Athena Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of SYSCO during the 4th quarter worth approximately $29,000. Valley National Advisers Inc. raised its position in shares of SYSCO by 60.5% during the 4th quarter. Valley National Advisers Inc. now owns 472 shares of the company’s stock worth $30,000 after purchasing an additional 178 shares during the period. Finally, Murphy Pohlad Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of SYSCO during the 4th quarter worth approximately $31,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 79.11% of the company’s stock.

About SYSCO

Sysco Corporation, through its subsidiaries, markets and distributes a range of food and related products primarily to the foodservice or food-away-from-home industry. It operates through three segments: U.S. Foodservice Operations, International Foodservice Operations, and SYGMA. The company distributes a line of frozen foods, such as meats, seafood, fully prepared entrees, fruits, vegetables, and desserts; a line of canned and dry foods; fresh meats and seafood; dairy products; beverage products; imported specialties; and fresh produce.

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