Covington Capital Management grew its stake in shares of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) by 20.5% in the fourth quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The fund owned 2,278 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after acquiring an additional 388 shares during the period. Covington Capital Management’s holdings in Yum! Brands were worth $209,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other large investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Legal & General Group Plc increased its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 9.2% in the fourth quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 1,918,389 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $176,307,000 after acquiring an additional 162,156 shares during the last quarter. Halsey Associates Inc. CT acquired a new position in shares of Yum! Brands in the fourth quarter worth $257,000. Howard Financial Services LTD. acquired a new position in shares of Yum! Brands in the fourth quarter worth $1,383,000. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans increased its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 1.1% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 22,481 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $2,058,000 after acquiring an additional 249 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 10.5% in the fourth quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,244,895 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $114,430,000 after acquiring an additional 117,935 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 73.75% of the company’s stock.

YUM stock opened at $98.97 on Friday. Yum! Brands, Inc. has a 52-week low of $77.09 and a 52-week high of $101.39. The stock has a market cap of $30.39 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.22, a PEG ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 0.55.

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 7th. The restaurant operator reported $0.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.97 by ($0.57). Yum! Brands had a net margin of 27.11% and a negative return on equity of 14.19%. The firm had revenue of $1.56 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.57 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.96 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was down 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Yum! Brands, Inc. will post 3.8 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 8th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, February 14th were issued a dividend of $0.42 per share. This represents a $1.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.70%. This is a boost from Yum! Brands’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, February 13th. Yum! Brands’s dividend payout ratio is 53.00%.

In other news, Director Tanya L. Domier purchased 2,652 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 8th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $94.23 per share, for a total transaction of $249,897.96. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO David W. Gibbs sold 1,531 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $99.54, for a total transaction of $152,395.74. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 41,345 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,115,481.30. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 106,684 shares of company stock valued at $10,065,092 over the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 0.63% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities analysts have recently weighed in on YUM shares. Goldman Sachs Group downgraded shares of Yum! Brands from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and dropped their price target for the stock from $83.00 to $76.00 in a research note on Friday, January 11th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Yum! Brands from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, January 14th. Cowen reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $100.00 price objective on shares of Yum! Brands in a report on Sunday, December 2nd. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut shares of Yum! Brands from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $94.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Tuesday, March 19th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets upped their price objective on shares of Yum! Brands to $100.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a report on Friday, February 8th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $93.64.

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About Yum! Brands

YUM! Brands, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, develops, operates, and franchises quick service restaurants worldwide. It operates in three segments: the KFC Division, the Pizza Hut Division, and the Taco Bell Division. The company operates restaurants under the KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell brands, which specialize in chicken, pizza, and Mexican-style food categories.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM)

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