West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. (NYSE:WST) was downgraded by investment analysts at Wells Fargo & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report released on Wednesday.

A number of other research analysts have also recently commented on the company. Jefferies Group upped their price target on West Pharmaceutical Services from $67.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, July 29th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded West Pharmaceutical Services from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $91.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Friday, August 5th.

Shares of West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE:WST) opened at 81.32 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $5.95 billion, a PE ratio of 59.23 and a beta of 0.87. West Pharmaceutical Services has a 52-week low of $52.79 and a 52-week high of $84.33. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $81.54 and a 200-day moving average price of $74.86.

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West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE:WST) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $0.59 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.56 by $0.03. West Pharmaceutical Services had a return on equity of 14.40% and a net margin of 6.99%. The firm had revenue of $388 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $384.58 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.47 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that West Pharmaceutical Services will post $2.23 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 2nd. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 19th will be paid a dividend of $0.13 per share. This represents a $0.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.64%. This is a boost from West Pharmaceutical Services’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.12. West Pharmaceutical Services’s dividend payout ratio is 35.04%.

In other news, SVP Karen Flynn sold 14,581 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $83.28, for a total transaction of $1,214,305.68. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 13,513 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,125,362.64. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Paula A. Johnson sold 3,042 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.55, for a total value of $248,075.10. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 38,450 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,135,597.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 5.13% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Norges Bank bought a new stake in West Pharmaceutical Services during the fourth quarter worth $35,278,000. Sigma Planning Corp acquired a new position in West Pharmaceutical Services during the first quarter valued at approximately $264,000. Aperio Group LLC raised its position in West Pharmaceutical Services by 7.9% in the first quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 25,508 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,768,000 after buying an additional 1,873 shares during the period. Virginia Retirement System acquired a new position in West Pharmaceutical Services during the first quarter valued at approximately $326,000. Finally, Teachers Advisors Inc. raised its position in West Pharmaceutical Services by 0.7% in the first quarter. Teachers Advisors Inc. now owns 104,680 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,256,000 after buying an additional 744 shares during the period. 90.24% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

West Pharmaceutical Services Company Profile

West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc is a manufacturer of components and systems for the packaging and delivery of injectable drugs, as well as delivery system components for the pharmaceutical, healthcare and consumer products industries. The Company’s products include stoppers and seals for vials, prefillable syringe components and systems, components for intravenous and blood collection systems, safety and administration systems, advanced injection systems, and contract design and manufacturing services.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:WST

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