Zacks Investment Research Lowers Central Garden & Pet (NASDAQ:CENT) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Central Garden & Pet (NASDAQ:CENT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, April 10th.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Central Garden & Pet have outpaced the industry in a year. Organic growth, value accretive acquisitions and divestment of non-strategic assets bode well for the stock. Management is revamping both Pet and Garden segments and applies a balanced approach that encompasses improvement in revenues and profits through operational efficiency. We believe that improved product offerings, strategic investments, growth in e-commerce and cost containment efforts helped post better-than-expected first-quarter fiscal 2018 results, wherein both the top and bottom lines grew year over year. However, rise in cost of goods sold and occupancy, higher SG&A and interest expenses as well as seasonality of business remain concerns. Nevertheless, management now expects fiscal 2018 adjusted earnings per share to increase by 23.3% or higher on account of lower Federal tax rate and sturdy quarterly performance.”

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Other research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. KeyCorp reiterated a buy rating and set a $46.00 price target on shares of Central Garden & Pet in a research note on Monday, March 26th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Central Garden & Pet from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Saturday, January 6th. Finally, SunTrust Banks boosted their price target on shares of Central Garden & Pet to $50.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Monday, April 9th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. Central Garden & Pet presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $45.60.

Shares of NASDAQ:CENT traded up $0.41 on Tuesday, reaching $41.52. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 28,933 shares, compared to its average volume of 132,851. Central Garden & Pet has a 52-week low of $29.08 and a 52-week high of $43.30. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.04, a quick ratio of 2.46 and a current ratio of 4.42. The stock has a market capitalization of $2,100.70, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.95, a PEG ratio of 2.14 and a beta of 0.07.

Central Garden & Pet (NASDAQ:CENT) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, February 7th. The company reported $0.19 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.15 by $0.04. Central Garden & Pet had a net margin of 4.69% and a return on equity of 12.86%. The business had revenue of $442.01 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $435.19 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.12 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts forecast that Central Garden & Pet will post 1.89 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, CFO Nicholas Lahanas sold 1,824 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $37.87, for a total value of $69,074.88. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 23,358 shares in the company, valued at $884,567.46. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director John Ranelli sold 11,563 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.97, for a total transaction of $427,484.11. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 542 shares in the company, valued at $20,037.74. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 42,589 shares of company stock worth $1,588,316 over the last 90 days. 12.60% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in CENT. Millennium Management LLC lifted its stake in shares of Central Garden & Pet by 780.2% during the fourth quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 207,168 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,063,000 after buying an additional 183,631 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its stake in shares of Central Garden & Pet by 41.2% during the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 204,093 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,927,000 after buying an additional 59,561 shares during the period. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Central Garden & Pet by 124.0% during the fourth quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 51,358 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,999,000 after buying an additional 28,430 shares during the period. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Central Garden & Pet by 47.7% during the fourth quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 58,988 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,296,000 after buying an additional 19,048 shares during the period. Finally, Citadel Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Central Garden & Pet during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $713,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 19.66% of the company’s stock.

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Central Garden & Pet Company Profile

Central Garden & Pet Company, together with its subsidiaries, produces and distributes products for the lawn and garden, and pet supplies markets in the United States. It operates through two segments, Pet and Garden. The Pet segment supplies products for dogs and cats comprising edible bones, edible and non-edible chews, rawhide, dog and cat food and treats, toys, pet carriers, grooming supplies, and other accessories; and food, cages and habitats, toys, chews, and related accessories for birds, small animals, and specialty pets.

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