ValuEngine cut shares of Medifast (NYSE:MED) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Monday morning.

Other analysts have also issued reports about the company. Sidoti upgraded Medifast from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a report on Thursday, November 8th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Medifast from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, October 4th.

Shares of Medifast stock opened at $126.65 on Monday. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.60 billion, a PE ratio of 55.31, a PEG ratio of 1.48 and a beta of 0.43. Medifast has a one year low of $61.96 and a one year high of $260.98.

Medifast (NYSE:MED) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, November 6th. The specialty retailer reported $1.14 EPS for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.14. The company had revenue of $139.20 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $125.20 million. Medifast had a return on equity of 43.45% and a net margin of 10.95%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 80.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.55 earnings per share. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Medifast will post 4.5 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 7th. Investors of record on Friday, December 21st will be issued a dividend of $0.75 per share. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.37%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 20th. This is a positive change from Medifast’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Medifast’s dividend payout ratio is presently 83.84%.

In related news, CEO Daniel R. Chard bought 975 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 8th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $153.28 per share, for a total transaction of $149,448.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the chief executive officer now owns 12,753 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,954,779.84. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director Constance J. Hallquist sold 1,343 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $153.84, for a total value of $206,607.12. Following the sale, the director now owns 4,687 shares in the company, valued at approximately $721,048.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 4.30% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Raymond James & Associates raised its holdings in Medifast by 13.2% during the second quarter. Raymond James & Associates now owns 2,569 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $411,000 after acquiring an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. Smith Asset Management Group LP raised its stake in Medifast by 3.2% in the third quarter. Smith Asset Management Group LP now owns 9,574 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $2,121,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the period. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. raised its stake in Medifast by 4.2% in the second quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 7,827 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $1,254,000 after buying an additional 319 shares during the period. Comerica Bank raised its stake in Medifast by 2.8% in the third quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 11,564 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $2,395,000 after buying an additional 319 shares during the period. Finally, American International Group Inc. raised its stake in Medifast by 3.8% in the third quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 9,212 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $2,041,000 after buying an additional 334 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 90.37% of the company’s stock.

Medifast Company Profile

Medifast, Inc, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and distributes weight loss, weight management, healthy living products, and other consumable health and nutritional products. It offers bars, bites, pretzels, puffs, oatmeal and cereal crunch products, drinks, hearty choices, pancakes, puddings, soft serves, shakes, smoothies, soft bakes, and soups under the Medifast, OPTAVIA, Thrive by Medifast, Optimal Health by OPTAVIA, Flavors of Home, and Essential 1 brands.

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