Meredith (MDP) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

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Meredith (NYSE:MDP) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Meredith’s strategic initiatives in digital space, brand licensing activities, solid portfolio of television stations and a robust earnings surprise history bodes well. Although Meredith declined in the past six months, it outpaced the industry. Also, the company posted solid third quarter fiscal 2019 results backed by robust demand for political advertising in Local Media Group and controlled expenses in National Media Group. Moreover, the company acquired Time Inc. and now expects to generate cost synergies of $400-$500 million annually in the first two years of the combined firm’s operations. In keeping with its strategy to focus on core operations, Meredith is offloading non-core brands. These seem inevitable due to increasing online readership, which has made the print-advertising model increasingly redundant. Also, high interest expense remains a concern and may dent the company’s bottom line.”

MDP has been the subject of a number of other reports. TheStreet raised shares of Meredith from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Tuesday, November 27th. Citigroup increased their price objective on shares of Meredith from $61.00 to $67.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, November 29th. Wolfe Research began coverage on shares of Meredith in a report on Friday, December 7th. They set a “market perform” rating for the company. ValuEngine raised shares of Meredith from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 9th. Finally, Benchmark reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Meredith in a report on Monday, December 17th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $63.00.

Meredith stock traded down $0.58 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $55.24. The stock had a trading volume of 2,534 shares, compared to its average volume of 364,449. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.41 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.87 and a beta of 1.25. Meredith has a 52-week low of $47.30 and a 52-week high of $69.35. The company has a current ratio of 1.57, a quick ratio of 1.52 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.72.

Meredith (NYSE:MDP) last released its earnings results on Friday, November 9th. The company reported $0.22 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.32) by $0.54. The company had revenue of $756.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $751.33 million. Meredith had a net margin of 3.18% and a return on equity of 13.08%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 92.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.73 EPS. On average, analysts predict that Meredith will post 2.99 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CFO Joseph H. Ceryanec sold 6,884 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.01, for a total value of $399,340.84. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 2,226 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $129,130.26. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider John S. Zieser sold 6,011 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.42, for a total transaction of $351,162.62. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 18,610 shares of company stock valued at $1,081,858. 4.70% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of MDP. Commonwealth Bank of Australia bought a new stake in Meredith in the third quarter worth $214,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC lifted its position in Meredith by 183.8% in the third quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 4,892 shares of the company’s stock worth $249,000 after buying an additional 3,168 shares during the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue bought a new stake in Meredith in the third quarter worth $257,000. Man Group plc bought a new stake in Meredith in the third quarter worth $296,000. Finally, Lido Advisors LLC lifted its position in Meredith by 26.1% in the third quarter. Lido Advisors LLC now owns 6,060 shares of the company’s stock worth $309,000 after buying an additional 1,255 shares during the last quarter.

Meredith Company Profile

Meredith Corporation operates as a diversified media company in the United States, Europe, and Asia. It operates in two segments, National Media and Local Media. The National Media segment offers national consumer media brands through various media platforms, including print magazines, digital and mobile media, brand licensing activities, database-related activities, affinity marketing, and business-to-business marketing products and services.

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