UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Buy

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Saturday, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $218.00 price target on the textile maker’s stock.

According to Zacks, “UniFirst Corporation has become an industry leader and remains one of the fastest growing companies in the Uniform and Textile Services business. Its business is the rental Lease and Sale of work clothing, uniforms, protective apparel, careerwear, and facility service products to businesses in virtually all industrial categories. The major portion of the Company’s business is Uniform Rental Service Programs, wherein it provides customers with all necessary products plus weekly cleaning, maintenance, and any needed replacements of work clothing. The Company became the first private industrial launderer to be granted a government license to process nuclear-contaminated garments. The Company has developed a separate division, UniTech Services Group, which now includes specialized plants throughout the United States and in Europe. UniFirst is a national leader in cleaning and decontaminating the garments worn by workers who maintain and refuel nuclear power and nuclear processing equipment. “

A number of other brokerages have also commented on UNF. ValuEngine lowered UniFirst from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 11th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their target price on UniFirst from $155.00 to $183.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research report on Thursday, June 27th.

UNF traded up $2.05 on Friday, hitting $196.43. The company had a trading volume of 80,256 shares, compared to its average volume of 87,495. The stock has a fifty day moving average price of $193.96 and a 200-day moving average price of $179.19. UniFirst has a 12-month low of $132.38 and a 12-month high of $205.22. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.69 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.09 and a beta of 0.73.

In related news, major shareholder Cecelia Levenstein sold 11,592 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $196.66, for a total transaction of $2,279,682.72. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 100,650 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $19,793,829. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Insiders have sold 29,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,846,211 over the last quarter. 1.00% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of UNF. First Hawaiian Bank grew its stake in UniFirst by 2.9% during the 3rd quarter. First Hawaiian Bank now owns 1,950 shares of the textile maker’s stock worth $380,000 after buying an additional 55 shares during the last quarter. Marshall Wace North America L.P. grew its position in UniFirst by 17.4% during the first quarter. Marshall Wace North America L.P. now owns 473 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $73,000 after acquiring an additional 70 shares during the period. Rockefeller Capital Management L.P. grew its position in UniFirst by 3.5% during the second quarter. Rockefeller Capital Management L.P. now owns 2,417 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $455,000 after acquiring an additional 82 shares during the period. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC grew its position in UniFirst by 0.3% during the second quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 33,646 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $6,345,000 after acquiring an additional 85 shares during the period. Finally, Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its position in UniFirst by 1.7% during the second quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 6,077 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $1,146,000 after acquiring an additional 100 shares during the period. 77.45% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About UniFirst

UniFirst Corporation provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States, Europe, and Canada. The company operates through U.S. Rental and Cleaning, Canadian Rental and Cleaning, Manufacturing, Specialty Garments Rental and Cleaning, and First Aid segments. It designs, manufactures, personalizes, rents, cleans, delivers, and sells a range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, lab coats, smocks, and aprons; and specialized protective wear, such as flame resistant and high visibility garments.

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