Unilever (UN) Downgraded to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Unilever (NYSE:UN) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Unilever is one of the world’s largest consumer products companies. They produce and market a wide range of foods, home and personal care products. Their leading brands include Dove, Lipton, Magnum, Omo and Rama. They are the number one producer of frozen foods in Europe, They are also a leader in the branded olive oil category the most important brand being Bertolli. They are the largest seller of packet tea in the world through our Lipton and Brooke Bond brands. “

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UN has been the subject of several other reports. UBS raised Unilever from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, March 28th. JPMorgan Chase reissued a neutral rating on shares of Unilever in a report on Monday, December 18th. Argus raised Unilever from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, March 23rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Investec raised Unilever from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Monday, January 29th. Finally, ABN Amro raised Unilever from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $66.00.

Shares of Unilever stock traded up $0.33 on Friday, hitting $57.01. The stock had a trading volume of 1,075,313 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,480,852. Unilever has a 52-week low of $50.93 and a 52-week high of $61.62. The company has a market capitalization of $97,190.73, a P/E ratio of 22.53, a PEG ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.84.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, March 21st. Stockholders of record on Friday, February 16th were issued a $0.445 dividend. This is an increase from Unilever’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.35. This represents a $1.78 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.12%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, February 15th. Unilever’s payout ratio is presently 59.68%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of UN. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in Unilever by 5.4% during the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 812,834 shares of the company’s stock valued at $47,990,000 after acquiring an additional 41,342 shares during the last quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. purchased a new stake in Unilever during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $596,000. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC raised its stake in Unilever by 90.6% during the 3rd quarter. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC now owns 12,025 shares of the company’s stock valued at $710,000 after acquiring an additional 5,715 shares during the last quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. raised its stake in Unilever by 175.6% during the 3rd quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 43,587 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,574,000 after acquiring an additional 27,772 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Sterling Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Unilever by 19.9% during the 3rd quarter. Sterling Capital Management LLC now owns 28,749 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,697,000 after acquiring an additional 4,767 shares during the last quarter. 8.28% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Unilever Company Profile

Unilever N.V. operates in the fast-moving consumer goods industry worldwide. The company operates through Personal Care, Home Care, Foods, and Refreshment segments. The Personal Care segment offers skincare and haircare products, deodorants, and oral care products. This segment markets its products under the Axe, Dove, Lux, Rexona, Sunsilk, TRESemmé, Signal, Lifebuoy, Vaseline, Dermalogica, Murad, Dollar Shave Club, Zest & Camay, and Seventh Generation brands.

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