AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV) shares saw strong trading volume on Wednesday following a better than expected earnings announcement. 4,678,705 shares traded hands during trading, an increase of 1,710% from the previous session’s volume of 258,451 shares.The stock last traded at $54.47 and had previously closed at $43.25.

The aerospace company reported $0.29 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of ($0.01) by $0.30. AeroVironment had a return on equity of 5.40% and a net margin of 7.22%. The company had revenue of $73.83 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $63.53 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned ($0.18) earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 47.3% compared to the same quarter last year.

Several equities analysts have issued reports on AVAV shares. BidaskClub downgraded AeroVironment from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 16th. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $35.00 price target on shares of AeroVironment in a report on Thursday, August 10th. Jefferies Group raised their price target on AeroVironment from $29.00 to $37.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 30th. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $36.00 price target on shares of AeroVironment in a report on Thursday, August 31st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded AeroVironment from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $39.00.

In related news, Chairman Timothy E. Conver sold 7,600 shares of AeroVironment stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.47, for a total transaction of $391,172.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now owns 58,138 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,992,362.86. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Chairman Timothy E. Conver sold 3,800 shares of AeroVironment stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.14, for a total value of $167,732.00. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 58,138 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,566,211.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 43,800 shares of company stock valued at $2,179,960. Corporate insiders own 11.00% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AVAV. Janus Henderson Group PLC acquired a new stake in shares of AeroVironment during the second quarter worth about $39,724,000. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in AeroVironment by 3.6% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,333,627 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $127,344,000 after acquiring an additional 116,654 shares in the last quarter. Vident Investment Advisory LLC raised its position in AeroVironment by 31.1% during the third quarter. Vident Investment Advisory LLC now owns 474,428 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $25,676,000 after acquiring an additional 112,487 shares in the last quarter. Pier Capital LLC purchased a new position in AeroVironment during the third quarter valued at approximately $6,015,000. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in AeroVironment by 5.9% during the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,861,593 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $52,180,000 after acquiring an additional 103,167 shares in the last quarter. 74.65% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

The stock has a market cap of $1,048.97, a PE ratio of 52.38, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.79 and a beta of 1.16.

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About AeroVironment

AeroVironment, Inc designs, develops, produces, supports and operates a portfolio of products and services for government agencies, businesses and consumers. The Company operates through two segments: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), which focuses primarily on the design, development, production, support and operation of UAS and tactical missile systems that provide situational awareness, multi-band communications, force protection and other mission effects, and Efficient Energy Systems (EES), which focuses primarily on the design, development, production, marketing, support and operation of electric energy systems.

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