Acuity Brands Inc (AYI) Sees Unusually-High Trading Volume Following Strong Earnings

Acuity Brands Inc (NYSE:AYI) saw an uptick in trading volume on Wednesday after the company announced better than expected quarterly earnings. 2,663,692 shares changed hands during trading, an increase of 450% from the previous session’s volume of 484,447 shares.The stock last traded at $178.33 and had previously closed at $169.66.

The electronics maker reported $2.55 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.44 by $0.11. Acuity Brands had a return on equity of 19.89% and a net margin of 9.04%. The business had revenue of $957.60 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $975.05 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $2.21 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 3.5% compared to the same quarter last year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 18th will be paid a dividend of $0.13 per share. This represents a $0.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.29%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 17th. Acuity Brands’s payout ratio is currently 7.24%.

Acuity Brands announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback plan on Thursday, June 29th that permits the company to buyback 2,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the electronics maker to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

Several analysts have issued reports on AYI shares. Deutsche Bank AG upped their price objective on Acuity Brands from $215.00 to $245.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 30th. Canaccord Genuity restated a “buy” rating and set a $215.00 price objective on shares of Acuity Brands in a research note on Friday, June 30th. BidaskClub upgraded Acuity Brands from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, July 1st. Zacks Investment Research cut Acuity Brands from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 6th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company cut Acuity Brands from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and cut their price objective for the company from $225.00 to $185.00 in a research note on Friday, September 15th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $207.58.

In other news, EVP Mark A. Black sold 5,427 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $205.29, for a total transaction of $1,114,108.83. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 1.40% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Sentry Investment Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 1.1% during the second quarter. Sentry Investment Management LLC now owns 3,301 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $671,000 after purchasing an additional 35 shares during the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank grew its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 25.6% during the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 14,940 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $3,037,000 after purchasing an additional 3,044 shares during the last quarter. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd grew its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 301.6% during the second quarter. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd now owns 7,630 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $1,551,000 after purchasing an additional 5,730 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia grew its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 260.6% during the second quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 39,940 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $8,118,000 after purchasing an additional 28,863 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C grew its holdings in shares of Acuity Brands by 19.6% during the second quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C now owns 1,413,636 shares of the electronics maker’s stock valued at $287,363,000 after purchasing an additional 231,406 shares during the last quarter.

The company has a market capitalization of $7.69 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.88 and a beta of 1.43. The company’s 50-day moving average is $173.75 and its 200-day moving average is $182.85.

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Acuity Brands Company Profile

Acuity Brands, Inc is a provider of lighting solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications throughout North America and other international markets. The Company operates through North American segment. The Company offers a portfolio of indoor and outdoor lighting and building management solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure and residential applications.

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