Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Badger Meter (NYSE:BMI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Tuesday morning. They currently have $58.00 target price on the scientific and technical instruments company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Badger Meter remains positive about the second half of the year attributable to sizable backlog, continued interest in flagship products and moderating of copper prices. The company is poised to gain from growing demand for E-Series meters and ORION cellular endpoints as well as BEACON Advanced Metering Analytics managed solution. It is going to release the next version of the E-series residential meters, which will be available by the year-end. Strategic buyouts will likely help improve its product and technology portfolio, and increase global footprint. Inclusion in AT&T’s Smart City Alliance will allow Badger Meter to explore new ways for its smart water solutions to join forces with industry-leading cellular networks. The stock has outperformed the industry in the past three months on an average. However, any possible rise in copper prices will likely hurt the company’s financial performance going forward.”

BMI has been the topic of a number of other reports. ValuEngine raised Badger Meter from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Saturday, June 16th. Berenberg Bank initiated coverage on Badger Meter in a research report on Wednesday, October 3rd. They set a sell rating and a $43.00 price objective on the stock. Stifel Nicolaus lifted their price objective on Badger Meter from $41.00 to $49.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Friday, July 20th. Canaccord Genuity raised Badger Meter from a sell rating to a hold rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $40.00 to $44.00 in a research report on Friday, June 15th. Finally, Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $45.00 price objective on shares of Badger Meter in a research report on Friday, July 20th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Badger Meter presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $48.00.

BMI stock opened at $47.52 on Tuesday. Badger Meter has a twelve month low of $41.00 and a twelve month high of $56.40. The stock has a market cap of $1.54 billion, a PE ratio of 39.93, a P/E/G ratio of 4.11 and a beta of 0.71.

Badger Meter (NYSE:BMI) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 18th. The scientific and technical instruments company reported $0.42 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.39 by $0.03. Badger Meter had a return on equity of 12.51% and a net margin of 6.96%. The firm had revenue of $113.65 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $111.03 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.36 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 9.1% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, sell-side analysts predict that Badger Meter will post 1.43 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 14th. Investors of record on Friday, August 31st were paid a dividend of $0.15 per share. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.26%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 30th. This is an increase from Badger Meter’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.13. Badger Meter’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 50.42%.

In related news, Director Todd J. Teske sold 12,000 shares of Badger Meter stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, July 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.15, for a total transaction of $613,800.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 28,984 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,482,531.60. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, VP Richard E. Johnson sold 20,000 shares of Badger Meter stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.43, for a total value of $1,048,600.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 85,982 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,508,036.26. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 46,362 shares of company stock worth $2,426,234 in the last three months. 2.80% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Ellenbecker Investment Group bought a new stake in Badger Meter during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $203,000. Northern Trust Corp raised its stake in Badger Meter by 4.2% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 398,240 shares of the scientific and technical instruments company’s stock valued at $17,801,000 after purchasing an additional 16,013 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its stake in Badger Meter by 1.9% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 577,317 shares of the scientific and technical instruments company’s stock valued at $25,807,000 after purchasing an additional 10,630 shares during the period. New England Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in Badger Meter during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $362,000. Finally, Vident Investment Advisory LLC bought a new stake in Badger Meter during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $212,000. 85.71% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Badger Meter Company Profile

Badger Meter, Inc provides flow measurement, control, and communication solutions worldwide. It offers mechanical and electronic water meters, and related technologies and services to municipal water utilities; and meters and valves to measure and control materials flowing through a pipe or pipeline, including water, air, steam, oil, and other liquids and gases, as well as for use in water/wastewater, heating, ventilating and air conditioning, oil and gas, chemical and petrochemical, test and measurement, automotive aftermarket, and the concrete construction process industries.

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