Clorox (CLX) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Clorox (NYSE:CLX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday morning. They currently have $177.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Clorox surpassed the industry in a year thanks to the robust earnings trend, which continued in second-quarter fiscal 2019 and solid view for fiscal 2019. Second-quarter earnings topped estimates for the ninth straight quarter. Though sales missed estimates, it improved year over year driven by solid execution of pricing and cost-saving plans. Further, these actions aided gross margin expansion, despite higher commodity, manufacturing and logistics costs. Moreover, the company anticipates sales growth in fiscal 2019 backed by innovations, and acquisitions and divestitures. It also expects higher prices and cost-savings to aid gross margin. The company's 2020 Strategy, aimed at bolstering growth of categories and overall market share, also remain encouraging. However, elevated commodity costs and adverse currency rates should continue to be headwinds. Additionally, negative impacts from tariffs are likely to hurt Clorox’s results.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on CLX. Bank of America reiterated a neutral rating and issued a $170.00 price objective (up from $150.00) on shares of Clorox in a research report on Thursday, December 6th. Wells Fargo & Co reiterated a hold rating and issued a $157.00 price objective on shares of Clorox in a research report on Monday, February 4th. Credit Suisse Group assumed coverage on shares of Clorox in a research report on Wednesday, March 6th. They issued an outperform rating and a $172.00 price objective on the stock. Citigroup set a $171.00 price objective on shares of Clorox and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 5th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $142.00 price objective on shares of Clorox and gave the stock a sell rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $152.15.

Shares of NYSE CLX opened at $159.83 on Monday. The firm has a market cap of $20.52 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.53, a P/E/G ratio of 3.95 and a beta of 0.32. Clorox has a one year low of $113.57 and a one year high of $167.70. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.08, a quick ratio of 0.66 and a current ratio of 1.15.

Clorox (NYSE:CLX) last issued its earnings results on Monday, February 4th. The company reported $1.40 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.32 by $0.08. Clorox had a net margin of 12.65% and a return on equity of 105.97%. The company had revenue of $1.47 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.47 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.77 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that Clorox will post 6.33 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 10th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, April 24th will be issued a $0.96 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, April 23rd. This represents a $3.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.40%. Clorox’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 61.34%.

In other Clorox news, SVP Andrew J. Mowery sold 5,340 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $156.44, for a total value of $835,389.60. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, COO Dawn C. Willoughby sold 25,317 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $160.68, for a total transaction of $4,067,935.56. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 28,244 shares in the company, valued at $4,538,245.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 41,242 shares of company stock worth $6,532,251. 1.40% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in CLX. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund lifted its holdings in Clorox by 48,033.6% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 6,808,980 shares of the company’s stock valued at $44,000 after purchasing an additional 6,794,834 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley increased its stake in shares of Clorox by 178.2% during the 3rd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 3,063,813 shares of the company’s stock valued at $460,828,000 after acquiring an additional 1,962,433 shares during the last quarter. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of Clorox during the 4th quarter valued at about $175,485,000. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of Clorox by 7.7% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 10,555,837 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,627,074,000 after acquiring an additional 752,085 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Clorox by 21.5% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,899,544 shares of the company’s stock valued at $292,347,000 after acquiring an additional 335,835 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 76.19% of the company’s stock.

Clorox Company Profile

The Clorox Company manufactures and markets consumer and professional products worldwide. It operates through four segments: Cleaning, Household, Lifestyle, and International. The company offers laundry additives, including bleach products under the Clorox brand, as well as Clorox 2 stain fighter and color booster; home care products primarily under the Clorox, Formula 409, Liquid-Plumr, Pine-Sol, S.O.S, and Tilex brands; naturally derived products under the Green Works brand; and professional cleaning, disinfecting, and food service products under the Clorox, Dispatch, HealthLink, Clorox Healthcare, Hidden Valley, KC Masterpiece, and Soy Vay brands.

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