Penn National Gaming (PENN) Downgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Penn National, which have outperformed the industry in the past year, should continue to grow after the company posted better-than-expected earnings results in the second quarter of 2018. The company’s initiatives — involving both revenue-boosting and cost saving initiatives — are expected to reap recurring benefits over the years. Through ongoing refinements in procurement, marketing and labor management, it has reported margin growth in the second quarter of 2018. Further, the acquisition of Pinnacle is also expected to provide Penn National with significant synergies in the future. Earnings estimates for the current year have also inched up over the past 60 days, reflecting analysts’ optimism. However, a competitive operating environment and weather-related concerns are potential headwinds for the company.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on PENN. JPMorgan Chase & Co. started coverage on Penn National Gaming in a report on Friday, June 8th. They set an overweight rating and a $40.00 price target for the company. BidaskClub cut Penn National Gaming from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, June 8th. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on Penn National Gaming from $31.00 to $36.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a report on Tuesday, June 26th. Bank of America boosted their price target on Penn National Gaming from $36.50 to $38.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Tuesday, July 17th. Finally, UBS Group cut Penn National Gaming from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, July 26th. Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $36.67.

Shares of NASDAQ PENN opened at $30.04 on Thursday. The firm has a market capitalization of $3.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 3.35, a P/E/G ratio of 1.88 and a beta of 1.61. The company has a quick ratio of 0.63, a current ratio of 0.63 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 162.63. Penn National Gaming has a fifty-two week low of $23.23 and a fifty-two week high of $36.90.

Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 26th. The company reported $0.57 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $826.91 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $840.15 million. Penn National Gaming had a return on equity of 268.43% and a net margin of 18.02%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.18 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that Penn National Gaming will post 1.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Penn National Gaming news, Director Saul Reibstein sold 6,694 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $35.00, for a total value of $234,290.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 25,642 shares in the company, valued at approximately $897,470. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Timothy J. Wilmott purchased 100,000 shares of Penn National Gaming stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 15th. The stock was bought at an average price of $30.85 per share, for a total transaction of $3,085,000.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 107,794 shares of company stock valued at $3,916,411. Insiders own 10.56% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in PENN. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its position in shares of Penn National Gaming by 12.0% in the 1st quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,277,501 shares of the company’s stock valued at $33,548,000 after buying an additional 137,218 shares during the last quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund grew its position in shares of Penn National Gaming by 24.8% in the 1st quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 378,048 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,928,000 after buying an additional 75,125 shares during the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. grew its position in shares of Penn National Gaming by 23.4% in the 1st quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 81,544 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,142,000 after buying an additional 15,473 shares during the last quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. grew its position in shares of Penn National Gaming by 839.4% in the 1st quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 660,128 shares of the company’s stock valued at $17,335,000 after buying an additional 589,858 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Koch Industries Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Penn National Gaming in the 1st quarter valued at about $338,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 98.95% of the company’s stock.

About Penn National Gaming

Penn National Gaming, Inc owns and manages gaming and racing facilities, and operates video gaming terminals with a focus on slot machine entertainment. The company operates through Northeast, South/West, and Midwest segments. As of December 31, 2017, it operated 27 facilities in 17 jurisdictions, including California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Ontario, Canada.

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