Medifast, Inc. (NYSE:MED) has earned a consensus rating of “Buy” from the six research firms that are covering the company, Marketbeat reports. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, one has given a hold recommendation and four have issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average 1 year price objective among analysts that have covered the stock in the last year is $218.25.

MED has been the topic of a number of analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered Medifast from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $174.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Monday, October 12th. ValuEngine downgraded Medifast from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, December 10th. Jefferies Financial Group upgraded Medifast to a “buy” rating and set a $210.00 target price for the company in a research note on Thursday, October 1st. B. Riley increased their target price on Medifast from $230.00 to $250.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 3rd. Finally, BidaskClub lowered Medifast from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, December 12th.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of MED. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its stake in Medifast by 3.8% during the third quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 205,853 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $33,853,000 after acquiring an additional 7,517 shares during the period. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership lifted its holdings in Medifast by 205.7% during the 3rd quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 140,955 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $23,180,000 after buying an additional 94,852 shares in the last quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC lifted its holdings in Medifast by 28.5% during the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 86,935 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $12,064,000 after buying an additional 19,304 shares in the last quarter. Jacobs Levy Equity Management Inc. lifted its holdings in Medifast by 104.0% during the 2nd quarter. Jacobs Levy Equity Management Inc. now owns 61,370 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $8,516,000 after buying an additional 31,280 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Lombard Odier Asset Management Switzerland SA acquired a new position in shares of Medifast in the 3rd quarter valued at $9,045,000. 95.50% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

MED traded up $5.03 on Wednesday, hitting $213.63. The company had a trading volume of 185,515 shares, compared to its average volume of 150,361. The firm has a market cap of $2.51 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.74 and a beta of 1.54. The company’s fifty day moving average price is $200.09 and its 200 day moving average price is $171.84. Medifast has a 1 year low of $49.03 and a 1 year high of $226.77.

Medifast (NYSE:MED) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Monday, November 2nd. The specialty retailer reported $2.91 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.49 by $0.42. Medifast had a return on equity of 80.07% and a net margin of 11.27%. The company had revenue of $271.40 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $242.50 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.32 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 42.8% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Medifast will post 9.16 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 5th. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 22nd will be given a dividend of $1.13 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, December 21st. This represents a $4.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.12%. Medifast’s payout ratio is 75.84%.

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 in the United States and the Asia-Pacific. 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 Take Shape for Life, and Flavors of Home brands.

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