WestRock (NYSE:WRK – Get Rating) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. They presently have a $52.00 price target on the basic materials company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 5.52% from the company’s previous close.
According to Zacks, “WestRock’s earnings estimates for the third-quarter fiscal 2022 have been stable of late. The company expects adjusted earnings per share (EPS) to be between $1.36 and $1.54 in the third quarter of fiscal 2022. The mid-point of the guidance indicates a 24% sequential increase as pricing increases will help offset higher costs. WestRock's top-line performance will be supported by the ongoing solid demand for corrugated packaging, containerboard, food and beverage consumer packaging and industrial packaging. Pricing actions and productivity initiatives undertaken by the company are expected to offset higher costs and the ongoing supply chain challenges. Higher freight, wage and chemicals costs will continue to impact the company's margins in fiscal 2022. Labor shortages and supply chian challenges might impact WestRock's production.”
Other analysts have also issued reports about the stock. Wells Fargo & Company lowered their price objective on shares of WestRock from $66.00 to $59.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, May 26th. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft increased their price target on shares of WestRock from $52.00 to $59.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, April 18th. Finally, StockNews.com lowered shares of WestRock from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, May 27th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat, WestRock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $52.88.
WestRock (NYSE:WRK – Get Rating) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 5th. The basic materials company reported $1.17 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.01 by $0.16. WestRock had a net margin of 3.93% and a return on equity of 9.32%. The company had revenue of $5.38 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.08 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.54 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 21.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts expect that WestRock will post 5.11 earnings per share for the current year.
WestRock declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback program on Thursday, May 5th that allows the company to repurchase 25,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the basic materials company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.
In related news, insider Thomas Stigers sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.10, for a total value of $751,500.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 88,034 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,410,503.40. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 1.00% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Itau Unibanco Holding S.A. acquired a new stake in shares of WestRock during the 4th quarter worth approximately $25,000. Allworth Financial LP lifted its position in shares of WestRock by 634.2% during the 1st quarter. Allworth Financial LP now owns 558 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $26,000 after buying an additional 482 shares in the last quarter. Ancora Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of WestRock during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $29,000. Core Alternative Capital purchased a new position in shares of WestRock during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $30,000. Finally, Crewe Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of WestRock during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $31,000. 84.42% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
WestRock Company Profile (Get Rating)
WestRock Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides fiber-based paper and packaging solutions in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. It operates through two segments, Corrugated Packaging and Consumer Packaging. The Corrugated Packaging segment produces containerboards, corrugated sheets, corrugated packaging, and preprinted linerboards to consumer and industrial products manufacturers, and corrugated box manufacturers.
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