Universal Forest Products (UFPI) Lowered to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Universal Forest Products (NASDAQ:UFPI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Universal Forest Products' shares have underperformed the broader industry in the past six months. The company is plagued with high costs stemming from sales and other administrative expenses. Subsequently, the home-builder’s gross margins have come under pressure. Earnings estimates for current quarter and year have remained unchanged in the past month, limiting upside potential for the stock’s earnings prospect. However, the recent buyout of North American Container will enhance the company's growth opportunities in the industrial market. Beside this, the company is poised to benefit from solid housing starts along with rising demand for repair and remodeling activities in the quarters ahead.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on UFPI. BidaskClub upgraded Universal Forest Products from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, May 9th. ValuEngine upgraded Universal Forest Products from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, May 29th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets restated a hold rating and set a $37.00 target price on shares of Universal Forest Products in a report on Monday, April 2nd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Universal Forest Products presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $38.50.

Shares of Universal Forest Products stock opened at $36.62 on Friday. Universal Forest Products has a 12 month low of $25.93 and a 12 month high of $39.58. The stock has a market cap of $2.25 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.75, a PEG ratio of 2.95 and a beta of 1.88. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26, a current ratio of 3.33 and a quick ratio of 1.67.

Universal Forest Products (NASDAQ:UFPI) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, April 18th. The construction company reported $0.45 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.42 by $0.03. Universal Forest Products had a return on equity of 12.44% and a net margin of 3.21%. The company had revenue of $993.90 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $914.75 million. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.03 EPS. Universal Forest Products’s revenue for the quarter was up 17.5% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts expect that Universal Forest Products will post 2.48 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a semiannual dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 1st were paid a $0.18 dividend. This represents a dividend yield of 1.08%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, May 31st. This is a boost from Universal Forest Products’s previous semiannual dividend of $0.17. Universal Forest Products’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 19.57%.

In other news, insider Jonathan E. West sold 2,650 shares of Universal Forest Products stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, April 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $32.64, for a total value of $86,496.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 40,571 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,324,237.44. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, COO Patrick M. Webster sold 12,881 shares of Universal Forest Products stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.76, for a total value of $499,267.56. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 201,560 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,812,465.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 3.40% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd boosted its stake in shares of Universal Forest Products by 64.8% in the 1st quarter. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd now owns 26,682 shares of the construction company’s stock valued at $865,000 after buying an additional 10,496 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Universal Forest Products by 2.2% in the 1st quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 481,510 shares of the construction company’s stock valued at $15,625,000 after buying an additional 10,361 shares during the period. WINTON GROUP Ltd boosted its stake in shares of Universal Forest Products by 12.2% in the 1st quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd now owns 178,827 shares of the construction company’s stock valued at $5,803,000 after buying an additional 19,445 shares during the period. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB boosted its stake in shares of Universal Forest Products by 96.7% in the 1st quarter. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB now owns 11,795 shares of the construction company’s stock valued at $383,000 after buying an additional 5,800 shares during the period. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc boosted its stake in shares of Universal Forest Products by 1.9% in the 1st quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 126,143 shares of the construction company’s stock valued at $4,072,000 after buying an additional 2,368 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 77.83% of the company’s stock.

Universal Forest Products Company Profile

Universal Forest Products, Inc, through its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and markets wood and wood-alternative products in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The company offers preserved and unpreserved dimensional lumber; outdoor living products, including wood composite decking, and decorative lawn and garden products; and engineered wood components, which include roof and floor trusses, wall panels, engineered floor systems, I-joists, and lumber packages.

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