Rockwell Automation (ROK) Raised to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $183.00 target price on the industrial products company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Rockwell Automation expects fiscal 2018 adjusted EPS at $7.90-$8.10, an 18% year-over-year growth at the mid-point, backed by favorable global manufacturing environment, positive macroeconomic indicators and strong results. Organic sales growth guidance is at 5.5%, up from 3.5-6.5%. Organic sales growth is likely to be driven by higher expected growth rates in the solutions and services businesses, and higher backlogs in its product businesses. Heavy industries is likely to be the primary growth driver, backed by growth in emerging markets, and strong demand for metals and semiconductor. Positive impact of tax reform, increased investment and share repurchases also remain catalysts.”

Several other equities analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Cowen downgraded shares of Rockwell Automation from a market perform rating to an underperform rating and cut their price target for the stock from $175.00 to $150.00 in a report on Monday, October 15th. Credit Suisse Group began coverage on shares of Rockwell Automation in a report on Friday, October 12th. They issued an underperform rating and a $171.00 price target on the stock. Gordon Haskett began coverage on shares of Rockwell Automation in a report on Friday, October 12th. They issued a buy rating on the stock. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Rockwell Automation from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, October 11th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co increased their price target on shares of Rockwell Automation from $205.00 to $210.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Tuesday, October 2nd. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. Rockwell Automation presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $181.54.



Shares of Rockwell Automation stock traded down $0.47 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $157.02. The company had a trading volume of 19,007 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,058,021. The firm has a market capitalization of $20.10 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.23, a PEG ratio of 1.56 and a beta of 1.21. The company has a quick ratio of 1.60, a current ratio of 1.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85. Rockwell Automation has a 12-month low of $153.67 and a 12-month high of $210.72.

Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 25th. The industrial products company reported $2.16 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.04 by $0.12. Rockwell Automation had a net margin of 5.97% and a return on equity of 48.24%. The firm had revenue of $1.70 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.70 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.76 EPS. Rockwell Automation’s revenue was up 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Rockwell Automation will post 8.03 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Rockwell Automation announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program on Thursday, September 6th that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the industrial products company to reacquire up to 4.5% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, VP Steven W. Etzel sold 1,400 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $187.68, for a total transaction of $262,752.00. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 8,668 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,626,810.24. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Susan Schmitt sold 4,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $175.02, for a total transaction of $787,590.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 15,967 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,794,544.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 11,433 shares of company stock worth $2,086,894 in the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 1.28% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of ROK. Suntrust Banks Inc. grew its stake in shares of Rockwell Automation by 90.6% during the 1st quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 13,815 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $2,406,000 after purchasing an additional 6,566 shares during the period. Avalon Advisors LLC grew its stake in Rockwell Automation by 32.0% in the 1st quarter. Avalon Advisors LLC now owns 1,838 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $320,000 after acquiring an additional 446 shares during the period. Private Trust Co. NA grew its stake in Rockwell Automation by 52.9% in the 2nd quarter. Private Trust Co. NA now owns 6,355 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $1,056,000 after acquiring an additional 2,199 shares during the period. Washington Trust Bank acquired a new stake in Rockwell Automation in the 2nd quarter valued at $1,960,000. Finally, DnB Asset Management AS grew its stake in Rockwell Automation by 3.8% in the 2nd quarter. DnB Asset Management AS now owns 59,542 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $9,898,000 after acquiring an additional 2,200 shares during the period. 74.75% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation Inc provides industrial automation and information solutions worldwide. It operates in two segments, Architecture & Software; and Control Products & Solutions. The Architecture & Software segment provides control platforms, including controllers, electronic operator interface devices, electronic input/output devices, communication and networking products, and industrial computers that perform multiple control disciplines and monitoring of applications, such as discrete, batch and continuous process, drives control, motion control, and machine safety control.

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