Kovitz Investment Group Partners LLC raised its stake in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) by 42.8% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 355,609 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock after buying an additional 106,650 shares during the period. Walgreens Boots Alliance accounts for about 1.6% of Kovitz Investment Group Partners LLC’s portfolio, making the stock its 28th largest position. Kovitz Investment Group Partners LLC’s holdings in Walgreens Boots Alliance were worth $29,533,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other large investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in WBA. Nordea Investment Management AB raised its position in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance by 26.5% in the first quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 9,154,328 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $760,267,000 after buying an additional 1,917,082 shares in the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP boosted its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 5.9% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 32,846,862 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $2,727,932,000 after buying an additional 1,824,300 shares during the last quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 22.4% in the first quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 5,269,500 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $437,632,000 after buying an additional 962,959 shares during the last quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. boosted its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 22.9% in the first quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 4,912,489 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $407,982,000 after buying an additional 914,888 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. boosted its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 53.0% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 2,211,112 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock worth $183,632,000 after buying an additional 766,200 shares during the last quarter. 61.17% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ WBA) traded up 1.22% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $80.72. 3,992,347 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $79.08 and its 200 day moving average price is $82.30. The firm has a market cap of $86.38 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.38 and a beta of 1.25. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. has a 1-year low of $75.18 and a 1-year high of $89.69.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, June 29th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.33 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.03. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a net margin of 3.69% and a return on equity of 17.34%. The firm had revenue of $30.12 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $29.72 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.18 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts anticipate that Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. will post $5.01 EPS for the current year.

Walgreens Boots Alliance announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, June 29th that permits the company to repurchase $5.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the pharmacy operator to buy up to 5.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 12th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 18th will be paid a $0.40 dividend. This is a positive change from Walgreens Boots Alliance’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, August 16th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.98%. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s dividend payout ratio is presently 37.78%.

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WBA has been the topic of a number of analyst reports. Morgan Stanley reissued an “overweight” rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research note on Monday, July 3rd. Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research note on Monday, July 3rd. BidaskClub raised shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Guggenheim reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research note on Monday, July 3rd. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC decreased their price target on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from $95.00 to $80.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, May 31st. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $90.69.

In other news, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.79, for a total value of $218,305.44. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 19,151 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,528,058.29. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 13.50% of the company’s stock.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Company Profile

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA)

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