Badger Meter Inc. (NYSE:BMI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Wednesday. The brokerage presently has a $37.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 10.81% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Badger Meter is making progress on the expansion of its sales channels, which will benefit Flow instrumentation sales in the coming quarters. This will help in balancing stronger municipal sales with weaker flow instrumentation sales. Badger Meter expects robust results over the balance of 2016. The company will also benefit from continuous investment in new products and product enhancements and momentum in residential and commercial municipal water products. Further, the recent increase in dividend and stock split will also drive growth.”

Shares of Badger Meter (NYSE:BMI) traded down 0.45% on Wednesday, hitting $33.24. 30,927 shares of the stock traded hands. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $33.79 and a 200-day moving average of $35.00. The stock has a market cap of $967.18 million, a PE ratio of 30.78 and a beta of 0.80. Badger Meter has a 1-year low of $26.40 and a 1-year high of $39.36.

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Badger Meter (NYSE:BMI) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $0.65 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.65. Badger Meter had a return on equity of 13.19% and a net margin of 7.81%. The company earned $102.80 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $104.54 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.55 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 5.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts expect that Badger Meter will post $1.19 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, August 31st were paid a dividend of $0.23 per share. This is an increase from Badger Meter’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. The ex-dividend date was Monday, August 29th. This represents a $0.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.76%. Badger Meter’s payout ratio is presently 42.59%.

In other Badger Meter news, VP William R. A. Bergum sold 2,250 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.09, for a total transaction of $146,452.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 4,432 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $288,478.88. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, VP Fred J. Begale sold 1,720 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.00, for a total value of $113,520.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 2,336 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $154,176. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 4.60% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Badger Meter by 77.4% in the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,403 shares of the company’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 612 shares during the last quarter. PineBridge Investments L.P. boosted its stake in Badger Meter by 3.9% in the second quarter. PineBridge Investments L.P. now owns 1,844 shares of the company’s stock valued at $134,000 after buying an additional 69 shares during the period. Profund Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Badger Meter during the second quarter valued at $200,000. Mason Street Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Badger Meter during the second quarter valued at $208,000. Finally, First Republic Investment Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Badger Meter during the first quarter valued at $226,000. 79.64% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Badger Meter

Badger Meter, Inc is engaged in flow measurement, control and communication solutions, serving water utilities, municipalities, and commercial and industrial customers across the world. The Company’s products, measure water, oil, chemicals and other fluids, provide and communicate timely measurement data.

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