Yum Brands Inc. (NYSE:YUM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Yum! Brands has performed relatively well in the domestic and many key international markets. The company’s efforts to capitalize on high-growth emerging markets are also encouraging. Notably, the China division comps were down 1% in the quarter, suggesting that a complete recovery will take more time. The division had posted flat comps in Q2 after recording positive comps in the preceding three quarters. Even so, management raised its profit outlook for the third time this year, mainly due to continued strength in its business outside China and the current profitability trends there despite headwinds related to sales. Moreover, efforts to revive the U.S. business along with various sales and digital initiatives bode well. Also, the company is looking to drive growth through its strategic transformation plan post China business separation. However, a slowdown in some key emerging markets and negative currency translation raises concerns.”

A number of other brokerages have also weighed in on YUM. BTIG Research reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Yum Brands in a research note on Sunday, September 4th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. restated a “sell” rating and set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Yum Brands in a report on Wednesday, October 5th. Vetr upgraded Yum Brands from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $95.43 price objective for the company in a report on Tuesday, November 1st. Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating and set a $85.00 price objective on shares of Yum Brands in a report on Friday, October 7th. Finally, Robert W. Baird set a $95.00 price objective on Yum Brands and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 12th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $91.72.

Analyst Recommendations for Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM)

Shares of Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) opened at 63.39 on Tuesday. Yum Brands has a one year low of $46.43 and a one year high of $66.13. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $61.99 and its 200-day moving average price is $62.27. The stock has a market capitalization of $23.26 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.31 and a beta of 0.78.

Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 5th. The restaurant operator reported $1.09 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.10 by $0.01. Yum Brands had a negative return on equity of 589.18% and a net margin of 12.62%. The business had revenue of $3.32 billion for the quarter. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.00 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts anticipate that Yum Brands will post $2.40 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, November 4th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 19th were issued a $0.51 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, October 17th. This represents a $2.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.22%. This is a boost from Yum Brands’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. Yum Brands’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 51.91%.

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In other Yum Brands news, CEO Roger G. Eaton sold 53,518 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $91.72, for a total value of $4,908,670.96. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 245,736 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $22,538,905.92. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CFO David W. Gibbs sold 14,487 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, October 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.92, for a total transaction of $1,302,671.04. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 48,261 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,339,629.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 7.38% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its stake in shares of Yum Brands by 6.1% in the third quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 58,715 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $5,329,000 after buying an additional 3,394 shares during the last quarter. Whalerock Point Partners LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Yum Brands during the third quarter valued at approximately $623,000. MEMBERS Trust Co raised its stake in shares of Yum Brands by 3.5% in the third quarter. MEMBERS Trust Co now owns 5,253 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $477,000 after buying an additional 180 shares during the last quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Yum Brands during the third quarter valued at approximately $7,216,000. Finally, Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD raised its stake in shares of Yum Brands by 4.6% in the third quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 1,728,221 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $156,940,000 after buying an additional 76,342 shares during the last quarter. 73.26% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Yum Brands Company Profile

YUM! Brands, Inc (YUM) is engaged in restaurant business. The Company develops, operates, franchises and licenses an across the world system of restaurants, which prepare, package and sell a menu of food items, primarily through the three concepts of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (the Concepts). YUM operates through four segments: YUM China (China Division), which includes all operations in mainland China; The KFC Division, which includes all operations of the KFC concept outside of China Division; The Pizza Hut Division, which includes all operations of the Pizza Hut concept outside of China Division, and the Taco Bell Division, which includes all operations of the Taco Bell concept.

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