Zacks Investment Research Lowers Meredith (NYSE:MDP) to Hold

Meredith (NYSE:MDP) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Wednesday, January 10th.

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.”

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Jefferies Group upgraded Meredith from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $56.00 to $80.00 in a research note on Tuesday, November 28th. ValuEngine downgraded Meredith from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. Citigroup downgraded Meredith from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, December 1st. Wells Fargo & Co cut their price target on Meredith from $62.00 to $54.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Benchmark reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 price target (up previously from $67.00) on shares of Meredith in a research note on Monday, November 27th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $74.20.

Shares of Meredith (NYSE MDP) traded down $0.05 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $67.15. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 650,400 shares, compared to its average volume of 422,150. The company has a market cap of $2,980.00, a P/E ratio of 16.22, a PEG ratio of 2.48 and a beta of 1.30. 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 has a 52-week low of $50.63 and a 52-week high of $72.25.

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

In related news, Director Frederick B. Henry sold 1,048 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.50, for a total transaction of $69,692.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Edwin T. Iv Meredith sold 3,600 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.10, for a total value of $252,360.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 35,024 shares of company stock valued at $2,443,024 in the last quarter. 4.00% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. purchased a new stake in Meredith during the 3rd quarter worth about $167,000. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC purchased a new stake in Meredith during the 3rd quarter worth about $204,000. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Meredith in the 3rd quarter valued at about $207,000. Flinton Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Meredith by 53.4% in the 2nd quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC now owns 3,808 shares of the company’s stock valued at $226,000 after acquiring an additional 1,326 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Riverhead Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Meredith by 54.6% in the 2nd quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 3,864 shares of the company’s stock valued at $230,000 after acquiring an additional 1,364 shares in the last quarter. 97.26% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Meredith

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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