Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Waters (NYSE:WAT) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Waters continues to ride on its strengthening momentum across government and academic market. Further, the company is gaining traction in the market with its liquid chromatography systems. This remains a tailwind. Additionally, the company remains optimistic about its strengthening growth initiatives which are likely to aid it in gaining investors’ confidence in the near term. Waters’ strong focus toward innovation and expansion of its product portfolio is likely to aid its end-market performance. However, weakness in pharmaceutical and industrial market due to sluggish customer spending remains an overhang. Further, macro-economic headwinds in Europe and China are concerns. Also, soft demand conditions remain headwinds. The stock has underperformed the industry it belongs to over a year.”

WAT has been the subject of several other reports. ValuEngine lowered Waters from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. Robert W. Baird lowered their price objective on Waters from $211.00 to $209.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. BTIG Research increased their price objective on Waters to $260.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, January 24th. Barclays lowered their price objective on Waters from $218.00 to $210.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. Finally, UBS Group decreased their price target on Waters from $248.00 to $230.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, April 24th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. Waters currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $212.26.

Shares of Waters stock opened at $207.24 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $14.46 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.00, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.20 and a beta of 1.08. Waters has a fifty-two week low of $167.93 and a fifty-two week high of $255.21. The company has a quick ratio of 2.89, a current ratio of 3.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.15.

Waters (NYSE:WAT) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 23rd. The medical instruments supplier reported $1.60 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.73 by ($0.13). The business had revenue of $513.90 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $545.82 million. Waters had a return on equity of 39.64% and a net margin of 24.59%. The company’s revenue was down 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.59 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that Waters will post 9.11 EPS for the current year.

In other Waters news, SVP Robert G. Carson sold 2,724 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $241.23, for a total transaction of $657,110.52. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 3,898 shares in the company, valued at $940,314.54. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, SVP Terrence P. Kelly sold 2,006 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $239.69, for a total value of $480,818.14. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 7,730 shares of company stock worth $1,856,849 over the last 90 days. 1.14% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in WAT. Athena Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Waters in the fourth quarter valued at $28,000. Reilly Financial Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Waters by 334.8% in the fourth quarter. Reilly Financial Advisors LLC now owns 200 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $38,000 after acquiring an additional 154 shares in the last quarter. Lindbrook Capital LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Waters in the fourth quarter valued at $41,000. Massey Quick Simon & CO. LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Waters in the first quarter valued at $43,000. Finally, Van ECK Associates Corp raised its stake in shares of Waters by 33.8% in the fourth quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 297 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $56,000 after acquiring an additional 75 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 97.57% of the company’s stock.

Waters Company Profile

Waters Corporation, a specialty measurement company, provides analytical workflow solutions in Asia, the Americas, and Europe. It operates through two segments, Waters and TA. The company designs, manufactures, sells, and services high and ultra-performance liquid chromatography, as well as mass spectrometry (MS) technology systems and support products, including chromatography columns, other consumable products, and post-warranty service plans.

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