Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Smith (A.O.) (NYSE:AOS) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday.
According to Zacks, “Over the past six months, A.O. Smith’s stock has outperformed the industry average. The company also has an impressive earnings surprise history, having beaten estimates thrice over the four trailing quarters. A flourishing water heater industry, robust consumer product demand in China and positive industry trends are likely to drive top-line growth, going forward. Hague products and Aquasana have also significantly boosted the company’s sales. However, on the flip side, appreciation in steel prices is expected to put margins under pressure. Moreover, transition of the Chinese economy to a consumer driven one has resulted in a significant slowdown that might impact the company’s sales in the region. Also, strong competition in the water boilers and heaters industry compounds the company’s challenges.”
AOS has been the topic of several other research reports. Goldman Sachs upgraded shares of Smith (A.O.) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 4th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Smith (A.O.) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 4th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a buy rating and set a $78.00 price target on shares of Smith (A.O.) in a research report on Friday, January 26th. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a hold rating and set a $59.00 price target on shares of Smith (A.O.) in a research report on Monday, December 11th. Finally, Robert W. Baird reiterated a buy rating and set a $70.00 price target on shares of Smith (A.O.) in a research report on Wednesday, January 31st. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $68.00.
Smith (A.O.) (NYSE:AOS) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, January 30th. The industrial products company reported $0.60 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.56 by $0.04. Smith (A.O.) had a net margin of 9.89% and a return on equity of 23.30%. The company had revenue of $768.60 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $767.45 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.47 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 10.1% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Smith will post 2.57 EPS for the current year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, May 15th. Investors of record on Monday, April 30th will be given a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, April 27th. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.13%. Smith (A.O.)’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 33.18%.
In related news, VP Robert J. Heideman sold 11,606 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.74, for a total transaction of $716,554.44. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 34,099 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,105,272.26. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director William P. Greubel sold 17,856 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.50, for a total transaction of $1,187,424.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 110,635 shares of company stock worth $7,149,622. 1.28% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC lifted its position in Smith (A.O.) by 70.4% during the 4th quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 2,784 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $171,000 after purchasing an additional 1,150 shares during the period. Zeke Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Smith (A.O.) during the 4th quarter valued at about $203,000. Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft FI acquired a new position in Smith (A.O.) during the 4th quarter valued at about $210,000. Brookmont Capital Management acquired a new position in Smith (A.O.) during the 4th quarter valued at about $224,000. Finally, Wellington Shields Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Smith (A.O.) during the 4th quarter valued at about $245,000. Institutional investors own 74.86% of the company’s stock.
Smith (A.O.) Company Profile
A. O. Smith Corporation manufactures and markets residential and commercial gas and electric water heaters, boilers, and water treatment products in North America, China, Europe, and India. The company offers water heaters for residences, restaurants, hotels and motels, office buildings, laundries, car washes, and small businesses; residential and commercial boilers for use in space heating applications for hospitals, schools, hotels, and other large commercial buildings; and water treatment products, including on-the-go filtration bottles, point-of-use carbon and reverse osmosis products, point-of-entry water softeners, and whole-home water filtrations products for residences, restaurants, hotels, and offices.
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