Essex Financial Services Inc. Reduces Stock Position in Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM)

Essex Financial Services Inc. reduced its holdings in Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) by 23.2% in the first quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 1,868 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after selling 565 shares during the period. Essex Financial Services Inc.’s holdings in Yum! Brands were worth $202,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in YUM. Ironwood Wealth Management LLC. boosted its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 2,341.5% during the 4th quarter. Ironwood Wealth Management LLC. now owns 4,883 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $530,000 after purchasing an additional 4,683 shares during the period. AE Wealth Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 6.4% during the 4th quarter. AE Wealth Management LLC now owns 7,342 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $797,000 after purchasing an additional 441 shares during the period. Camden National Bank purchased a new position in shares of Yum! Brands during the 4th quarter worth about $206,000. First Trust Advisors LP boosted its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 816.3% during the 4th quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 63,589 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $6,903,000 after purchasing an additional 56,649 shares during the period. Finally, Dynamic Advisor Solutions LLC boosted its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 7.4% during the 4th quarter. Dynamic Advisor Solutions LLC now owns 3,982 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $432,000 after purchasing an additional 275 shares during the period. 77.27% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

A number of equities analysts recently commented on YUM shares. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price target on shares of Yum! Brands from $108.00 to $120.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 29th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Atlantic Securities started coverage on shares of Yum! Brands in a report on Tuesday, April 6th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $118.00 price objective for the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted their price objective on shares of Yum! Brands from $106.00 to $120.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, April 12th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Wells Fargo & Company lifted their price objective on shares of Yum! Brands from $125.00 to $134.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 13th. Finally, Barclays lifted their price objective on shares of Yum! Brands from $115.00 to $121.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Tuesday, June 1st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $118.65.

Shares of Yum! Brands stock opened at $118.71 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $118.19. Yum! Brands, Inc. has a 52-week low of $84.17 and a 52-week high of $122.72. The stock has a market cap of $35.36 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.74, a P/E/G ratio of 2.44 and a beta of 1.09.

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 27th. The restaurant operator reported $1.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.87 by $0.20. Yum! Brands had a net margin of 19.52% and a negative return on equity of 15.62%. The firm had revenue of $1.49 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.45 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.64 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 17.7% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, analysts predict that Yum! Brands, Inc. will post 4.12 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 11th. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 28th will be given a dividend of $0.50 per share. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.68%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 27th. Yum! Brands’s dividend payout ratio is presently 55.25%.

Yum! Brands announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase plan on Monday, May 10th that allows the company to repurchase $2.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the restaurant operator to purchase up to 5.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Yum! Brands news, CEO David W. Gibbs sold 1,362 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, April 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $118.47, for a total transaction of $161,356.14. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 22,256 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,636,668.32. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, COO Tracy L. Skeans sold 10,838 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $120.16, for a total transaction of $1,302,294.08. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 16,242 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,951,638.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 61,325 shares of company stock worth $7,267,062. 0.37% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Yum! Brands Profile

YUM! Brands, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, develops, operates, and franchises quick service restaurants worldwide. It operates through four segments: the KFC Division, the Pizza Hut Division, the Taco Bell Division, and the Habit Burger Grill Division. The company operates restaurants under the KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill brands, which specialize in chicken, pizza, made-to-order chargrilled burgers, sandwiches, Mexican-style food categories, and other food products.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM)

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