Zacks Investment Research Lowers United Rentals (URI) to Hold

United Rentals (NYSE:URI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “United Rentals benefits from Project XL initiatives, prudent investments in fleet, accretive acquisitions and robust end-market demand. The overall outlook of the construction market remained positive so far this year. Construction spending in the United States has ramped up lately, supported by a steady increase in outlays on private as well as public construction projects. The company expects that majority of its end markets will continue to experience solid demand for equipment rental services in 2018. Its focus on expanding geographic borders and product portfolio through acquisitions and joint ventures bodes well. Although shares of United Rentals have underperformed its industry in the past year, earnings estimates have moved north over the past 30 days, reflecting analysts’ optimism surrounding the stock.”

URI has been the subject of several other research reports. UBS Group set a $180.00 price objective on United Rentals and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. Buckingham Research set a $190.00 price objective on United Rentals and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 18th. ValuEngine lowered United Rentals from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. Barclays started coverage on United Rentals in a research note on Friday, December 14th. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $130.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Bank of America set a $200.00 price objective on United Rentals and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 13th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $162.62.

Shares of United Rentals stock traded down $1.31 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $117.47. The company had a trading volume of 74,432 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,697,188. United Rentals has a one year low of $94.28 and a one year high of $190.74. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.75, a current ratio of 0.81 and a quick ratio of 0.76. The firm has a market capitalization of $9.61 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.08, a PEG ratio of 0.34 and a beta of 2.38.

United Rentals (NYSE:URI) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 17th. The construction company reported $4.74 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $4.56 by $0.18. The firm had revenue of $2.12 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.03 billion. United Rentals had a return on equity of 39.46% and a net margin of 21.96%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 19.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $3.25 earnings per share. Sell-side analysts expect that United Rentals will post 16.27 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Director Jenne K. Britell acquired 435 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 22nd. The shares were purchased at an average price of $115.07 per share, for a total transaction of $50,055.45. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now owns 27,497 shares in the company, valued at $3,164,079.79. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Jose B. Alvarez acquired 544 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 26th. The stock was bought at an average price of $107.45 per share, for a total transaction of $58,452.80. Following the acquisition, the director now owns 2,413 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $259,276.85. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Company insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Fulton Bank N.A. increased its holdings in shares of United Rentals by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. Fulton Bank N.A. now owns 15,257 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $1,564,000 after buying an additional 128 shares during the period. Paradigm Asset Management Co. LLC purchased a new position in United Rentals during the 3rd quarter valued at about $49,000. DNB Asset Management AS increased its holdings in United Rentals by 2.3% during the 3rd quarter. DNB Asset Management AS now owns 15,346 shares of the construction company’s stock valued at $2,511,000 after purchasing an additional 346 shares during the period. Visionary Asset Management Inc. increased its holdings in United Rentals by 18.3% during the 3rd quarter. Visionary Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,303 shares of the construction company’s stock valued at $377,000 after purchasing an additional 356 shares during the period. Finally, Arizona State Retirement System increased its holdings in United Rentals by 1.3% during the 3rd quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 37,209 shares of the construction company’s stock valued at $6,087,000 after purchasing an additional 466 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 87.51% of the company’s stock.

United Rentals Company Profile

United Rentals, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates as an equipment rental company. It operates in two segments, General Rentals; and Trench, Power, and Pump. The General Rentals segment engages in the rental of general construction and industrial equipment, such as backhoes, skid-steer loaders, forklifts, earthmoving equipment, and material handling equipment; aerial work platforms, such as boom lifts and scissor lifts; and general tools and light equipment comprising pressure washers, water pumps, and power tools.

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