UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest in December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 264,900 shares, a growth of 15.5% from the December 15th total of 229,400 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 83,800 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 3.2 days. Approximately 1.8% of the shares of the company are sold short.
Shares of UNF traded up $3.18 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $215.55. The company had a trading volume of 1,050 shares, compared to its average volume of 104,356. The firm has a market cap of $3.92 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.29 and a beta of 0.71. The business has a fifty day moving average of $206.62 and a 200-day moving average of $198.86. UniFirst has a 12 month low of $134.16 and a 12 month high of $217.90. The company has a quick ratio of 4.06, a current ratio of 4.57 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.02.
UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 8th. The textile maker reported $2.52 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.01 by $0.51. The company had revenue of $465.40 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $459.19 million. UniFirst had a net margin of 9.89% and a return on equity of 10.21%. The company’s revenue was up 6.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $2.10 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts expect that UniFirst will post 8.1 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, January 3rd. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 6th were given a $0.25 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, December 5th. This is a positive change from UniFirst’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.11. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.46%. UniFirst’s dividend payout ratio is presently 11.74%.
Several equities analysts have recently weighed in on UNF shares. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of UniFirst from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $239.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Saturday. William Blair reissued a “market perform” rating on shares of UniFirst in a research report on Wednesday, January 8th.
In other UniFirst news, VP David A. Difillippo sold 776 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, January 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $206.16, for a total transaction of $159,980.16. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 12,130 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,500,720.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Steven S. Sintros sold 750 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, January 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $206.16, for a total transaction of $154,620.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 15,106 shares in the company, valued at $3,114,252.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,627 shares of company stock worth $335,809 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 1.10% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Tweedy Browne Co LLC raised its position in shares of UniFirst by 1,610.2% in the third quarter. Tweedy Browne Co LLC now owns 554,746 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $33,301,000 after purchasing an additional 522,309 shares during the period. Macquarie Group Ltd. grew its stake in shares of UniFirst by 0.6% in the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 413,479 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $77,970,000 after acquiring an additional 2,545 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp grew its stake in shares of UniFirst by 7.7% in the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 370,172 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $69,803,000 after acquiring an additional 26,605 shares in the last quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD grew its stake in shares of UniFirst by 13.6% in the second quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 250,955 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $47,323,000 after acquiring an additional 30,000 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Boston Trust Walden Corp grew its stake in shares of UniFirst by 2.7% in the fourth quarter. Boston Trust Walden Corp now owns 232,147 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $46,889,000 after acquiring an additional 6,187 shares in the last quarter. 79.35% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
UniFirst Corporation provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States, Europe, and Canada. The company operates through U.S. Rental and Cleaning, Canadian Rental and Cleaning, Manufacturing, Specialty Garments Rental and Cleaning, and First Aid segments. It designs, manufactures, personalizes, rents, cleans, delivers, and sells a range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, lab coats, smocks, and aprons; and specialized protective wear, such as flame resistant and high visibility garments.
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