Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $84.00 target price on the restaurant operator’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Yum! Brands’ second-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $0.68 beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 11.5% and rose 21% year over year (y/y). Total revenue of $1.45 billion fell 4% year over year but topped the consensus mark by nearly 3%. Notably, the company has performed quite well in the domestic and many key international markets. Following China business spin-off, Yum! Brands’ endeavors to drive growth by employing greater focus on the development of its three iconic global brands, increasing its franchise ownership, and creating a leaner, more efficient cost structure, bodes well. In fact, its shares have outpaced the industry ever since the separation. Increased focus on bold restaurant development should also drive growth. Yet, continual underperformance of Pizza Hut U.S. division, macroeconomic concerns and negative currency translation raise concern.”

YUM has been the subject of a number of other reports. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reaffirmed an outperform rating and issued a $78.00 price target (up from $75.00) on shares of Yum! Brands in a research note on Tuesday, May 30th. BMO Capital Markets assumed coverage on shares of Yum! Brands in a research note on Friday, April 21st. They issued a market perform rating and a $66.00 price target for the company. BidaskClub raised shares of Yum! Brands from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Saturday, June 24th. Mizuho assumed coverage on shares of Yum! Brands in a research note on Thursday, June 8th. They issued a neutral rating and a $74.00 price target for the company. Finally, Citigroup Inc. upped their price target on shares of Yum! Brands from $67.00 to $71.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 11th. Fifteen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have given a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $78.64.

Shares of Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) opened at 75.56 on Tuesday. Yum! Brands has a 12 month low of $59.57 and a 12 month high of $76.62. The firm has a market cap of $26.05 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.06 and a beta of 0.82. The company has a 50-day moving average of $74.41 and a 200-day moving average of $69.15.

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The restaurant operator reported $0.68 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.61 by $0.07. Yum! Brands had a net margin of 16.76% and a negative return on equity of 24.95%. The firm had revenue of $1.45 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.42 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.75 EPS. Yum! Brands’s quarterly revenue was down 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts forecast that Yum! Brands will post $2.82 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, August 4th. Investors of record on Friday, July 14th were given a $0.30 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, July 12th. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.59%. Yum! Brands’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 33.15%.

In other Yum! Brands news, CEO Brian R. Niccol sold 1,471 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.64, for a total value of $106,853.44. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 6,712 shares in the company, valued at approximately $487,559.68. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Brian R. Niccol sold 1,487 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $73.82, for a total transaction of $109,770.34. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 6,719 shares in the company, valued at approximately $495,996.58. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 11,294 shares of company stock valued at $833,488. 7.38% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Fox Run Management L.L.C. bought a new position in Yum! Brands during the first quarter valued at $1,029,000. Town & Country Bank & Trust CO dba First Bankers Trust CO raised its position in Yum! Brands by 3.8% in the first quarter. Town & Country Bank & Trust CO dba First Bankers Trust CO now owns 5,215 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $333,000 after buying an additional 191 shares in the last quarter. Atria Investments LLC raised its position in Yum! Brands by 24.1% in the first quarter. Atria Investments LLC now owns 8,630 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $551,000 after buying an additional 1,676 shares in the last quarter. Parametrica Management Ltd bought a new position in Yum! Brands during the first quarter valued at $311,000. Finally, Prospera Financial Services Inc raised its position in Yum! Brands by 30.8% in the first quarter. Prospera Financial Services Inc now owns 21,624 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,382,000 after buying an additional 5,089 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.75% of the company’s stock.

Yum! Brands Company Profile

YUM! Brands, Inc is engaged in restaurant business. As of December 31, 2016, the Company operated or franchised over 43,500 restaurants in more than 135 countries and territories operating under the KFC, Pizza Hut or Taco Bell (collectively the Concepts) brands. The Company operates through three segments: The KFC Division, which includes the operations of the KFC concept around the world; The Pizza Hut Division, which includes the operations of the Pizza Hut concept around the world, and The Taco Bell Division, which includes the operations of the Taco Bell concept around the world.

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Analyst Recommendations for Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM)

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