Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Abaxis (NASDAQ:ABAX) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Abaxis' rising operating expenses and a weak operating margin scenario pose concerns for the company of late. Challenges like competitive bidding continue to hurt the stock. This apart, valuation remains stretched. Overall, in the last six months, Abaxis has been trading below the broader industry. However, a year-over-year increase in revenues buoys optimism. We are looking forward to improved consumable revenues that boosted veterinary sales performance at Abaxis in the quarter. Meanwhile, the company is initiating new sales and marketing strategies. In this regard, recently in September, Abaxis started shipping VetScan UA, urine chemistry analyzer. Abaxis plans additional product launches in fiscal 2018, including the VetScan FUSE connectivity system.”

Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on ABAX. Aegis reissued a hold rating on shares of Abaxis in a report on Friday, December 1st. BidaskClub raised Abaxis from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, December 21st. TheStreet raised Abaxis from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a report on Wednesday, November 29th. Bank of America cut their price target on Abaxis from $42.00 to $39.00 and set an underperform rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, October 25th. Finally, Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $47.00 price target (up from $46.00) on shares of Abaxis in a report on Friday, October 27th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $47.63.

Shares of Abaxis (NASDAQ:ABAX) traded up $0.63 during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $49.61. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 112,100 shares, compared to its average volume of 123,641. Abaxis has a 1-year low of $43.66 and a 1-year high of $55.44. The company has a market capitalization of $1,126.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 41.34 and a beta of 0.86.

Abaxis (NASDAQ:ABAX) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 24th. The medical research company reported $0.29 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.27 by $0.02. Abaxis had a return on equity of 10.18% and a net margin of 11.98%. The business had revenue of $58.90 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $60.85 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.34 earnings per share. Abaxis’s revenue was up .5% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that Abaxis will post 1.08 EPS for the current year.

Abaxis declared that its board has approved a share buyback program on Tuesday, October 24th that authorizes the company to repurchase $21.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the medical research company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 1st were issued a $0.16 dividend. This is a positive change from Abaxis’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.29%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, November 30th. Abaxis’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 53.33%.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in Abaxis by 17.6% during the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,574 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $136,000 after buying an additional 386 shares during the period. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. bought a new stake in Abaxis during the second quarter valued at $239,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Abaxis during the second quarter valued at $260,000. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan boosted its stake in Abaxis by 4.1% during the second quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan now owns 5,320 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $282,000 after buying an additional 210 shares during the period. Finally, Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd bought a new stake in Abaxis during the third quarter valued at $257,000. 97.66% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Abaxis

Abaxis, Inc is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of portable blood analysis systems that are used in medical specialties in human or veterinary patient care to provide clinicians with blood constituent measurements. The Company markets and sells its products around the world through independent distributors and direct sales force.

Analyst Recommendations for Abaxis (NASDAQ:ABAX)

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