NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) shares gapped up prior to trading on Tuesday after Zacks Investment Research upgraded the stock from a hold rating to a buy rating. The stock had previously closed at $55.87, but opened at $57.73. Zacks Investment Research now has a $65.00 price target on the stock. NetApp shares last traded at $58.74, with a volume of 3903120 shares trading hands.

According to Zacks, “NetApp is a provider of enterprise storage and data management software and hardware products and services. The company’s expertise in the flash array market is increasing its prominence in the storage area network (SAN) and converged infrastructure markets. Shares of the company have outperformed the industry in the past one year. The company’s newly launched hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is also expected to be a positive for the top-line growth in the long run. We believe NetApp is well positioned to enjoy steady growth driven by its diversified portfolio and strong distribution channels. These will drive demand for the company's products going forward. However, the company has been experiencing declining OEM revenues since two straight fiscals. Moreover, intensifying competition from bellwethers such as HP Inc., Dell, IBM and Oracle is a major headwind.”

A number of other research analysts have also issued reports on the company. UBS Group boosted their target price on NetApp from $62.00 to $71.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, January 26th. Deutsche Bank boosted their target price on NetApp from $27.00 to $37.00 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, November 16th. Royal Bank of Canada boosted their target price on NetApp from $45.00 to $50.00 and gave the company a “sector perform” rating in a report on Monday, November 13th. BMO Capital Markets raised NetApp from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and boosted their target price for the company from $43.00 to $62.00 in a report on Thursday, November 16th. Finally, Morgan Stanley reaffirmed a “sell” rating and set a $41.00 price objective (up previously from $38.00) on shares of NetApp in a report on Thursday, November 16th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. NetApp presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $53.85.

In other NetApp news, CEO George Kurian sold 7,020 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, February 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.48, for a total value of $417,549.60. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director George T. Shaheen sold 36,916 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, November 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.10, for a total value of $1,960,239.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 176,629 shares of company stock worth $9,568,956 in the last three months. 0.47% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. grew its holdings in NetApp by 2.1% in the second quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 10,933 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $440,000 after purchasing an additional 228 shares during the last quarter. IFP Advisors Inc grew its holdings in NetApp by 45.3% in the fourth quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 2,571 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $142,000 after purchasing an additional 801 shares during the last quarter. Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC lifted its position in shares of NetApp by 11.5% in the fourth quarter. Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC now owns 9,358 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $518,000 after acquiring an additional 962 shares in the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC lifted its position in shares of NetApp by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 264,699 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $14,643,000 after acquiring an additional 981 shares in the last quarter. Finally, DnB Asset Management AS lifted its position in shares of NetApp by 3.3% in the fourth quarter. DnB Asset Management AS now owns 31,397 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $1,737,000 after acquiring an additional 1,000 shares in the last quarter. 96.67% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.55, a quick ratio of 1.64 and a current ratio of 1.67. The firm has a market cap of $15,670.00, a PE ratio of 25.21, a PEG ratio of 1.79 and a beta of 1.33.

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 15th. The data storage provider reported $0.81 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.12. NetApp had a return on equity of 26.77% and a net margin of 11.49%. The business had revenue of $1.42 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.38 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.60 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 6.1% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts expect that NetApp Inc. will post 2.76 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 24th. Stockholders of record on Friday, January 5th were given a $0.20 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, January 4th. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.36%. NetApp’s dividend payout ratio is currently 34.33%.

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NetApp Company Profile

NetApp, Inc (NetApp) provides software, systems and services to manage and store customer data. The Company enables enterprises, service providers, governmental organizations, and partners to envision, deploy and evolve their information technology (IT) environments. The Company offers a portfolio of products and services that satisfy a range of customer workloads across different data types and deployment models.

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