Woodward Inc. (NASDAQ:WWD) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday. The brokerage presently has a $67.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target points to a potential upside of 11.52% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Woodward is steadily becoming a major supplier of aircraft, gas turbines and heavy-duty engines. The company also stands to benefit from increased global usage of natural gas as a source of electricity and transportation fuel. Woodward has also been recently witnessing strong backlog in the commercial aerospace space due to rising demand for fuel-efficient aircraft and increasing passenger miles. That said, Woodward's dependence on government defense budgets, stiff competition from a number of major players in the U.S. and abroad, persistent market weakness and sluggish growth in China are major concerns for the company.”

Several other analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. Barrington Research began coverage on Woodward in a research note on Friday. They issued a “market perform” rating on the stock. Jefferies Group set a $59.00 price objective on Woodward and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 20th. Finally, Maxim Group increased their price objective on Woodward from $60.00 to $70.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, July 15th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. Woodward currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $60.25.

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Woodward (NASDAQ:WWD) traded up 0.93% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $60.64. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 54,167 shares. The firm has a market cap of $3.73 billion, a PE ratio of 23.11 and a beta of 1.33. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $60.76 and its 200 day moving average is $56.60. Woodward has a one year low of $39.68 and a one year high of $63.98.

Woodward (NASDAQ:WWD) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $0.81 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.76 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $508 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $521.70 million. Woodward had a return on equity of 15.53% and a net margin of 8.40%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.66 earnings per share. On average, analysts anticipate that Woodward will post $2.77 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 28th. Shareholders of record on Monday, November 14th will be paid a $0.11 dividend. This represents a $0.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.73%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 9th. Woodward’s dividend payout ratio is presently 16.73%.

In other Woodward news, VP Christopher Fawzy sold 6,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.30, for a total value of $355,800.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 9,506 shares in the company, valued at $563,705.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Mary L. Petrovich sold 8,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.54, for a total value of $480,028.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 6.18% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Calvert Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake in Woodward by 0.5% in the second quarter. Calvert Investment Management Inc. now owns 4,302 shares of the company’s stock worth $248,000 after buying an additional 23 shares in the last quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio boosted its stake in Woodward by 1.1% in the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 3,658 shares of the company’s stock worth $211,000 after buying an additional 39 shares in the last quarter. Miles Capital Inc. boosted its stake in Woodward by 1.5% in the second quarter. Miles Capital Inc. now owns 6,015 shares of the company’s stock worth $347,000 after buying an additional 86 shares in the last quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. raised its position in shares of Woodward by 0.5% in the first quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 19,631 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,021,000 after buying an additional 98 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Capstone Asset Management Co. raised its position in shares of Woodward by 3.1% in the second quarter. Capstone Asset Management Co. now owns 4,005 shares of the company’s stock valued at $231,000 after buying an additional 120 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 75.55% of the company’s stock.

About Woodward

Woodward, Inc is a designer, manufacturer, and service provider of energy controls and optimization solutions. The Company has production and assembly facilities in the United States, Europe and Asia, and promotes its products and services through its worldwide locations. The Company’s is engaged in providing energy control and optimization solutions for the aerospace and energy markets.

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