Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Meredith (NYSE:MDP) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Thursday morning. The brokerage currently has $73.00 target price on the stock.

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.”

MDP has been the topic of several other reports. Jefferies Group reissued a hold rating and set a $60.00 price target on shares of Meredith in a report on Monday, October 16th. JMP Securities started coverage on Meredith in a report on Monday, November 13th. They set a market perform rating on the stock. Benchmark reissued a buy rating and set a $77.00 price target (up from $67.00) on shares of Meredith in a report on Monday, November 27th. Wells Fargo & Co upgraded Meredith from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $54.00 to $76.00 in a research note on Monday, November 27th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Meredith from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, October 13th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $74.20.

Meredith (NYSE MDP) traded down $0.25 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $64.95. The stock had a trading volume of 433,458 shares, compared to its average volume of 382,220. The company has a market cap of $2,920.00, a PE ratio of 15.69, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.40 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 12-month low of $50.63 and a 12-month high of $72.25.

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

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 30th were paid a $0.52 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, November 29th. This represents a $2.08 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.20%. Meredith’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 50.24%.

In other Meredith news, Director Meredith D. Mell Frazier sold 22,176 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, December 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $69.85, for a total value of $1,548,993.60. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 6,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $419,100. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director Frederick B. Henry sold 1,048 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.50, for a total value of $69,692.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 35,024 shares of company stock valued at $2,443,024 over the last 90 days. 4.00% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Meredith by 9.1% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 7,553,017 shares of the company’s stock worth $449,025,000 after buying an additional 627,217 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its stake in Meredith by 16.8% in the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 4,938,340 shares of the company’s stock worth $293,589,000 after buying an additional 710,721 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in Meredith by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 3,564,353 shares of the company’s stock worth $211,902,000 after buying an additional 14,885 shares in the last quarter. Royce & Associates LP increased its stake in Meredith by 5.4% in the 3rd quarter. Royce & Associates LP now owns 1,602,378 shares of the company’s stock worth $88,932,000 after buying an additional 81,737 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Northern Trust Corp increased its stake in Meredith by 3.6% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,059,938 shares of the company’s stock worth $63,014,000 after buying an additional 37,120 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 97.26% of the company’s stock.

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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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