Zacks Investment Research Lowers Tegna (TGNA) to Sell

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Tegna (NYSE:TGNA) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Over the past six months, the share price of TEGNA increased 1.7% but failed to beat the industry’s gain of 8.3%. Moreover, TEGNA’s operation in a competitive broadcast TV industry remains a concern. The U.S. broadcast TV industry has long been grappling with declining advertising revenues and global economic volatility. On the flip side, TEGNA seems to be soaring high, post the completion of its two strategic business moves. On one side, TEGNA plans to use the $250 million of gross proceeds from the sale of its web portal CareerBuilder, to clear off existing debt. While the spin-off of its auto-sales website, Cars.com into two publicly traded companies: TEGNA and Cars.com, should increase TEGNA's growth opportunities and appropriate market valuations. Moreover, TEGNA’s media business is faring well, evident from the revenue growth.”

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on TGNA. BidaskClub lowered Tegna from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, September 12th. FBR & Co reissued a hold rating and set a $15.00 price objective on shares of Tegna in a research note on Wednesday, September 20th. Wells Fargo & Co reissued a hold rating and set a $14.00 price objective on shares of Tegna in a research note on Friday, September 22nd. Royal Bank of Canada began coverage on Tegna in a research note on Tuesday, September 26th. They set a sector perform rating and a $14.00 price objective for the company. Finally, ValuEngine raised Tegna from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating, five have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Tegna presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $18.50.

Tegna (TGNA) traded down $0.06 during trading on Wednesday, hitting $15.04. The stock had a trading volume of 1,562,597 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,444,674. Tegna has a 52-week low of $11.59 and a 52-week high of $17.08. The company has a quick ratio of 1.37, a current ratio of 1.37 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 4.30. The company has a market capitalization of $3,236.70, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.46, a P/E/G ratio of 7.75 and a beta of 1.72.

Tegna (NYSE:TGNA) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The company reported $0.23 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.22 by $0.01. Tegna had a return on equity of 20.50% and a net margin of 11.10%. The firm had revenue of $464.26 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $463.23 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.65 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 10.7% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts forecast that Tegna will post 1.08 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 2nd. Investors of record on Friday, December 8th were paid a dividend of $0.07 per share. This represents a $0.28 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.86%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 7th. Tegna’s dividend payout ratio is 20.90%.

Tegna announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Tuesday, September 19th that allows the company to buyback $300.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to buy up to 11.3% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Tegna news, EVP Todd A. Mayman sold 36,830 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $12.63, for a total transaction of $465,162.90. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 19,420 shares in the company, valued at $245,274.60. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, SVP Clifton A. Mcclelland III sold 7,740 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, December 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $13.69, for a total value of $105,960.60. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 32,335 shares in the company, valued at approximately $442,666.15. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.81% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Point72 Asset Management L.P. purchased a new position in shares of Tegna in the third quarter worth about $110,000. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank increased its holdings in shares of Tegna by 523.1% in the third quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 10,337 shares of the company’s stock worth $138,000 after buying an additional 8,678 shares during the period. FNY Partners Fund LP purchased a new position in shares of Tegna in the second quarter worth about $158,000. Beacon Investment Advisory Services Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Tegna in the third quarter worth about $162,000. Finally, Quantbot Technologies LP purchased a new position in shares of Tegna in the third quarter worth about $169,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 99.71% of the company’s stock.

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About Tegna

Tegna Inc has a portfolio of media and digital businesses that provide content. The Company’s segments include TEGNA Media (Media) and TEGNA Digital (Digital). As of December 31, 2016, its media business included 46 television stations operating in 38 markets and offered television programming and digital content.

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