Vulcan Materials (VMC) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Vulcan Materials is susceptible to unfavorable weather conditions, as most of its products are used outdoors in the public or private construction industry. Also, the company is experiencing higher diesel and liquid asphalt prices. Uncertainty in aggregates demand in public construction further add to the woes. Its shares have lost 13.7% in the past year. Earnings estimates for 2018 and 2019 have moved down over the past 60 days, reflecting analysts’ concern surrounding the stock. Although Vulcan Materials’ strong aggregate reserve position, pricing power, divestiture of non-strategic operations, bolt-on acquisitions and significant debt reduction are encouraging, we await better visibility.”

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the company. ValuEngine downgraded Vulcan Materials from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Thursday, July 26th. Bank of America dropped their price objective on Vulcan Materials from $128.00 to $120.00 and set a hold rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 1st. Jefferies Financial Group raised Vulcan Materials from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $128.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, August 1st. Royal Bank of Canada raised Vulcan Materials from a sector perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $97.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, August 1st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, DA Davidson set a $118.00 price objective on Vulcan Materials and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Thursday. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $129.00.

VMC traded up $0.62 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $100.99. 2,072,952 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,330,388. The company has a market capitalization of $14.71 billion, a PE ratio of 33.22, a PEG ratio of 1.05 and a beta of 0.93. Vulcan Materials has a 1-year low of $98.70 and a 1-year high of $141.20. The company has a current ratio of 1.46, a quick ratio of 0.96 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.55.

Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, July 31st. The construction company reported $1.23 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.37 by ($0.14). The company had revenue of $1.20 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.15 billion. Vulcan Materials had a return on equity of 9.46% and a net margin of 15.72%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 16.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.89 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that Vulcan Materials will post 4.31 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 7th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, November 21st will be paid a $0.28 dividend. This represents a $1.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.11%. Vulcan Materials’s dividend payout ratio is 36.84%.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Morgan Stanley raised its stake in Vulcan Materials by 28.1% during the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 6,119,088 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $789,730,000 after buying an additional 1,341,129 shares during the period. Fred Alger Management Inc. raised its stake in Vulcan Materials by 56.3% during the 2nd quarter. Fred Alger Management Inc. now owns 2,644,635 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $341,317,000 after buying an additional 952,138 shares during the period. Millennium Management LLC raised its stake in Vulcan Materials by 210.9% during the 2nd quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,214,210 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $156,706,000 after buying an additional 823,657 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its stake in Vulcan Materials by 35.3% during the 1st quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 2,016,741 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $230,251,000 after buying an additional 526,595 shares during the period. Finally, Newbrook Capital Advisors LP acquired a new position in Vulcan Materials during the 1st quarter worth approximately $34,870,000. 97.07% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Vulcan Materials Company Profile

Vulcan Materials Company produces and supplies construction aggregates, asphalt mix, and ready-mixed concrete primarily in the United States. It operates through four segments: Aggregates, Asphalt, Concrete, and Calcium. The Aggregates segment provides crushed stone, sand and gravel, sand, and other aggregates; and related products and services for use in the construction and maintenance of highways, streets, and other public works, as well as in the construction of housing and commercial, industrial, and other nonresidential facilities.

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