ABAXIS (NASDAQ:ABAX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Abaxis' rising operating expenses and a weak operating margin scenario pose concerns for the company of late. Challenges like competitive bidding continue to hurt the stock. This apart, valuation remains stretched. Overall, in the last six months, Abaxis has been trading below the broader industry. However, a year-over-year increase in revenues buoys optimism. We are looking forward to improved consumable revenues that boosted veterinary sales performance at Abaxis in the quarter. Meanwhile, the company is initiating new sales and marketing strategies. In this regard, recently in September, Abaxis started shipping VetScan UA, urine chemistry analyzer. Abaxis plans additional product launches in fiscal 2018, including the VetScan FUSE connectivity system.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently weighed in on ABAX. Bank of America restated an “underperform” rating and issued a $42.00 price objective on shares of ABAXIS in a report on Wednesday, August 23rd. Canaccord Genuity restated a “hold” rating and issued a $47.00 price objective (up previously from $46.00) on shares of ABAXIS in a report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, TheStreet upgraded ABAXIS from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 29th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $47.63.

ABAXIS (NASDAQ:ABAX) traded down $0.64 on Tuesday, hitting $47.50. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 163,300 shares, compared to its average volume of 123,018. ABAXIS has a 1 year low of $43.66 and a 1 year high of $55.95. The firm has a market cap of $1,092.63, a P/E ratio of 40.12 and a beta of 0.86.

ABAXIS (NASDAQ:ABAX) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The medical research company reported $0.29 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.27 by $0.02. ABAXIS had a return on equity of 10.18% and a net margin of 11.98%. The firm had revenue of $58.90 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $60.85 million. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.34 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .5% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts forecast that ABAXIS will post 1.09 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

ABAXIS declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback plan on Tuesday, October 24th that authorizes the company to repurchase $21.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the medical research company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Cetera Investment Advisers bought a new position in ABAXIS during the third quarter worth about $263,000. Stifel Financial Corp grew its holdings in ABAXIS by 12.2% during the third quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 26,512 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $1,183,000 after purchasing an additional 2,878 shares during the period. OxFORD Asset Management LLP bought a new position in ABAXIS during the third quarter worth about $357,000. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP grew its holdings in ABAXIS by 1.7% during the third quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 683,986 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $30,540,000 after purchasing an additional 11,757 shares during the period. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its holdings in ABAXIS by 1.1% during the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 635,103 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $28,357,000 after purchasing an additional 6,974 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 97.51% of the company’s stock.

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Abaxis, Inc is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of portable blood analysis systems that are used in medical specialties in human or veterinary patient care to provide clinicians with blood constituent measurements. The Company markets and sells its products around the world through independent distributors and direct sales force.

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