Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Freshpet (NASDAQ:FRPT) to Strong Sell

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Freshpet (NASDAQ:FRPT) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research note published on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Freshpet Inc. is a pet food company. The company manufactures and markets natural fresh foods, refrigerated meals, and treats for dogs and cats in the United States and Canada. Freshpet provides meats- based recipes, such as chicken, beef, lamb and salmon; fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, peas and leafy green vegetables, and high-fiber grains, such as brown rice, oats and barley. It sells its products under the Freshpet, Dognation, and Dog Joy brand names. Freshpet Inc. is headquartered in Secaucus, New Jersey. “

Other analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. ValuEngine cut Freshpet from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 4th. SunTrust Banks cut their price objective on Freshpet to $45.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, August 6th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. DA Davidson started coverage on Freshpet in a research note on Wednesday, June 19th. They set a buy rating and a $60.00 price objective on the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. started coverage on Freshpet in a research note on Tuesday, July 30th. They set a neutral rating and a $46.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus set a $57.00 price objective on Freshpet and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Friday, September 13th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Freshpet presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $47.71.

Shares of NASDAQ FRPT opened at $46.86 on Tuesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $48.74 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $45.57. Freshpet has a 52-week low of $28.44 and a 52-week high of $52.42. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.69 billion, a P/E ratio of -312.40 and a beta of 1.07. The company has a quick ratio of 1.00, a current ratio of 1.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32.

Freshpet (NASDAQ:FRPT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, August 5th. The company reported ($0.16) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.08) by ($0.08). Freshpet had a negative net margin of 3.42% and a negative return on equity of 6.23%. The firm had revenue of $60.10 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $59.59 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned ($0.10) EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 26.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Freshpet will post 0.05 EPS for the current year.

In related news, Director J David Basto purchased 6,400 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 8th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $38.61 per share, for a total transaction of $247,104.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 23,721 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $915,867.81. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. 4.90% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank raised its position in shares of Freshpet by 21.1% during the 2nd quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 2,087 shares of the company’s stock worth $95,000 after purchasing an additional 363 shares during the period. United Services Automobile Association raised its position in shares of Freshpet by 6.0% during the 2nd quarter. United Services Automobile Association now owns 6,835 shares of the company’s stock worth $311,000 after purchasing an additional 389 shares during the period. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC raised its position in shares of Freshpet by 0.4% during the 2nd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 100,833 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,589,000 after purchasing an additional 438 shares during the period. Wrapmanager Inc. raised its position in shares of Freshpet by 5.8% during the 2nd quarter. Wrapmanager Inc. now owns 8,276 shares of the company’s stock worth $377,000 after purchasing an additional 456 shares during the period. Finally, NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc raised its position in shares of Freshpet by 21.4% during the 2nd quarter. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc now owns 3,400 shares of the company’s stock worth $155,000 after purchasing an additional 600 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 96.63% of the company’s stock.

About Freshpet

Freshpet, Inc manufactures and markets natural fresh products, refrigerated meals, and treats for dogs and cats in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The company sells its products under the Freshpet brand; and Dognation and Dog Joy labels through various classes of retail, including grocery, mass, club, pet specialty, and natural, as well as online.

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