NetApp, Inc. (NTAP) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of NetApp, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “NetApp's better-than-expected first-quarter 2018 results benefited from continuous product refreshes and growing portfolio based on SolidFire acquisition. Extended partnership with Microsoft also looks beneficial for the company. The company is also winning customers previously served by competitors like HP and Dell-EMC. Meanwhile, cost reduction initiatives will facilitate margin expansion over the long run. Notably, the company has outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis. However, intensifying competition in the flash segment is a major headwind.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. BidaskClub lowered shares of NetApp from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Saturday, August 12th. Credit Suisse Group increased their price objective on shares of NetApp from $37.00 to $40.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 9th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued a hold rating on shares of NetApp in a research report on Wednesday. Robert W. Baird reissued a hold rating and issued a $46.00 price objective (up previously from $44.00) on shares of NetApp in a research report on Wednesday. Finally, Citigroup Inc. increased their price objective on shares of NetApp from $41.00 to $43.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research report on Thursday, August 17th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-one have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $45.12.

Shares of NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) traded down 0.27% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $44.43. 1,885,084 shares of the stock were exchanged. NetApp has a one year low of $30.36 and a one year high of $45.24. The stock has a market cap of $11.99 billion, a PE ratio of 21.45 and a beta of 1.26. The company has a 50-day moving average of $40.83 and a 200 day moving average of $40.75.

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 16th. The data storage provider reported $0.62 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by $0.07. The company had revenue of $1.33 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.32 billion. NetApp had a net margin of 10.47% and a return on equity of 24.13%. NetApp’s revenue was up 2.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.46 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts predict that NetApp will post $3.12 earnings per share for the current year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 25th. Investors of record on Friday, October 6th will be given a $0.20 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 5th. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.80%. NetApp’s dividend payout ratio is presently 38.65%.

In related news, CEO George Kurian sold 4,570 shares of NetApp stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $37.98, for a total value of $173,568.60. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 23,028 shares in the company, valued at approximately $874,603.44. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Henri P. Richard sold 1,976 shares of NetApp stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.41, for a total transaction of $85,778.16. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 19,788 shares in the company, valued at $858,997.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 52,450 shares of company stock worth $2,250,560. 0.47% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NTAP. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. increased its stake in NetApp by 4.1% during the 1st quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 1,072,654 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $44,891,000 after buying an additional 42,544 shares during the period. Pacer Advisors Inc. increased its stake in NetApp by 31.5% during the 1st quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 6,588 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $276,000 after buying an additional 1,578 shares during the period. M&T Bank Corp increased its stake in NetApp by 12.0% during the 1st quarter. M&T Bank Corp now owns 14,053 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $588,000 after buying an additional 1,504 shares during the period. Blair William & Co. IL acquired a new position in NetApp during the 1st quarter valued at about $216,000. Finally, Neuberger Berman Group LLC increased its stake in NetApp by 10.5% during the 1st quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 8,143 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $341,000 after buying an additional 773 shares during the period. 92.08% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About NetApp

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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