Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE:ROK) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday. The firm presently has a $184.00 price objective on the industrial products company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective points to a potential upside of 11.73% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Rockwell Automation projects fiscal 2017 sales growth in the range of 4.5–7.5% and expects adjusted EPS in the range of $6.45–$6.75 per share. It remains optimistic about improvement in macro environment. Compared with earnings per share of $5.93 in fiscal 2016, the mid-point of the range depicts a year-over-year climb of 11%. Rockwell Automation will benefit from the consistent growth in the consumer and transportation verticals. It also expects heavy industries to grow in 2017 despite the prevailing softness in oil and gas and mining. Further, increased investment, acquisitions, product launches and share repurchases will support growth. Further, the company has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Rockwell Automation's shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized sub-industry year-to-date.”

A number of other research analysts also recently commented on ROK. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $145.00 target price on shares of Rockwell Automation in a report on Thursday, March 30th. Gabelli raised Rockwell Automation from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 19th. Barclays PLC increased their target price on Rockwell Automation from $166.00 to $167.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 19th. Stifel Nicolaus raised their price target on Rockwell Automation from $159.00 to $167.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, April 28th. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Rockwell Automation from $153.00 to $167.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Friday, April 28th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $143.86.

Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK) traded down 0.21% on Tuesday, reaching $164.34. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 418,482 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $21.17 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.43 and a beta of 1.17. Rockwell Automation has a 52 week low of $111.52 and a 52 week high of $165.52. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $159.63 and its 200-day moving average price is $151.73.

Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, April 26th. The industrial products company reported $1.55 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.40 by $0.15. Rockwell Automation had a return on equity of 39.71% and a net margin of 12.88%. The company had revenue of $1.55 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.48 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.37 EPS. Rockwell Automation’s quarterly revenue was up 7.9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts predict that Rockwell Automation will post $6.66 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 11th. Investors of record on Monday, August 14th will be given a $0.76 dividend. This represents a $3.04 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.85%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 10th. Rockwell Automation’s dividend payout ratio is currently 50.75%.

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In related news, SVP Sujeet Chand sold 9,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $159.72, for a total value of $1,517,340.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 46,873 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,486,555.56. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Keith D. Nosbusch sold 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $156.00, for a total value of $1,560,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 411,286 shares in the company, valued at $64,160,616. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 129,605 shares of company stock worth $20,469,855. 1.65% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Jacobus Wealth Management Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Rockwell Automation during the first quarter valued at about $104,000. First Command Bank purchased a new position in shares of Rockwell Automation during the fourth quarter valued at about $106,000. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC boosted its position in shares of Rockwell Automation by 0.5% in the second quarter. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC now owns 938 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $108,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the period. Meeder Asset Management Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Rockwell Automation during the first quarter valued at about $110,000. Finally, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings Co. Ltd. boosted its position in shares of Rockwell Automation by 1,700.0% in the first quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings Co. Ltd. now owns 720 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $112,000 after buying an additional 680 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 73.93% of the company’s stock.

About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation, Inc (Rockwell Automation) is a provider of industrial automation power, control and information solutions for manufacturers. The Company operates through two segments: Architecture & Software and Control Products & Solutions. The Architecture & Software segment contains various hardware, software and communication components of the Company’s integrated control and information architecture capable of controlling the customer’s industrial processes and connecting with their manufacturing enterprise.

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