Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Westrock Company (WRK) to Hold

Westrock Company (NYSE:WRK) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “WestRock’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 adjusted earnings per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a margin of 7% aided by productivity improvements. In fiscal 2017, the company completed five acquisitions that reinforced presence in attractive end markets, created opportunities for meaningful synergies and performance improvements. WestRock’s joint venture (JV) with Grupo Gondi has enhanced its ability to win share in the growing Mexican packaging market. Also, productivity and performance improvement programs, along with cost-saving actions remain tailwinds. WestRock outperformed the industry year to date. However, higher input costs, merger-related expenses, weak demand for processed, frozen, and dry foods, and carbonated drinks, as well as a stronger dollar may weigh on the near-term results.”

A number of other equities research analysts also recently commented on the stock. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Westrock from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, July 24th. Stephens initiated coverage on shares of Westrock in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. They issued an “equal weight” rating and a $61.00 price objective on the stock. Deutsche Bank AG reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 price objective (up from $61.00) on shares of Westrock in a research report on Monday, October 9th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $68.00 price objective on shares of Westrock in a research report on Friday, July 14th. Finally, KeyCorp reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Westrock in a research report on Wednesday, October 11th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, nine have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Westrock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $65.09.

Shares of Westrock (NYSE WRK) opened at $59.34 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $14,761.26, a P/E ratio of 22.50, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.35 and a beta of 1.37. Westrock has a fifty-two week low of $43.79 and a fifty-two week high of $61.60. The company has a current ratio of 1.49, a quick ratio of 0.89 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57.

Westrock (NYSE:WRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 2nd. The basic materials company reported $0.87 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.81 by $0.06. Westrock had a net margin of 4.77% and a return on equity of 6.73%. The company had revenue of $4.06 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.13 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.71 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 12.4% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts predict that Westrock will post 3.76 earnings per share for the current year.

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In related news, insider Jeffrey Wayne Chalovich sold 18,368 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.41, for a total value of $1,072,874.88. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 24,859 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,452,014.19. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director John A. Luke, Jr. sold 10,343 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, October 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.74, for a total transaction of $628,233.82. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 497,557 shares in the company, valued at $30,221,612.18. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 453,722 shares of company stock worth $25,561,697 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 2.68% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Eqis Capital Management Inc. grew its position in Westrock by 9.9% during the 3rd quarter. Eqis Capital Management Inc. now owns 11,786 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $669,000 after purchasing an additional 1,058 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in Westrock by 0.8% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 22,598,192 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,280,411,000 after purchasing an additional 180,112 shares during the last quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans grew its position in Westrock by 48.7% during the 2nd quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans now owns 1,328,089 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $75,250,000 after purchasing an additional 434,790 shares during the last quarter. Ronna Sue Cohen grew its position in Westrock by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Ronna Sue Cohen now owns 4,601 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $261,000 after purchasing an additional 12 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Aviva PLC grew its position in Westrock by 0.4% during the 2nd quarter. Aviva PLC now owns 156,270 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $8,856,000 after purchasing an additional 640 shares during the last quarter. 88.98% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Westrock Company Profile

WestRock Company, incorporated on March 6, 2015, is a multinational provider of paper and packaging solutions for consumer and corrugated packaging markets. The Company also develops real estate in the Charleston, South Carolina region. The Company’s segments include Corrugated Packaging, Consumer Packaging, and Land and Development.

Analyst Recommendations for Westrock (NYSE:WRK)

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