Zacks Investment Research Lowers Waters (WAT) to Hold

Waters (NYSE:WAT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Waters Corp. has an excellent earnings history, having surpassed estimates in each of the trailing four quarters. Going forward, the company believes that stable demand from pharmaceutical business, steady recurring revenues, strength in Asia and modest recovery in industrial markets will accelerate its momentum. Based on these dynamics, the company is expecting strong mid-single-digit constant currency sales increase. Even the government and academic markets have returned to the growth track after sustained weakness. However, the company’s growth will likely be hindered by contracting demand in the Americas. Waters Corp. also intends to increase its spending on research and development in the coming quarters, which, although beneficial in the long run, will push expenses higher and hurt immediate profits. Further, shares of Waters Corp. have underperformed the industry’s average return over past six months.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. BTIG Research initiated coverage on Waters in a research note on Friday. They issued a “buy” rating and a $230.00 price target for the company. Morgan Stanley upgraded Waters from an “underweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a $192.00 price target for the company in a research note on Monday, December 4th. Barclays increased their price target on Waters from $188.00 to $193.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Deutsche Bank increased their price target on Waters from $199.00 to $200.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Finally, Cowen reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $190.00 price target on shares of Waters in a research note on Friday, November 3rd. Eleven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, six have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $196.73.

Waters (WAT) traded up $2.57 during trading on Friday, reaching $202.23. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 363,300 shares, compared to its average volume of 325,288. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.66, a quick ratio of 5.71 and a current ratio of 6.16. Waters has a 52 week low of $134.69 and a 52 week high of $202.85. The stock has a market capitalization of $15,879.56, a PE ratio of 29.83, a PEG ratio of 2.67 and a beta of 0.82.

Waters (NYSE:WAT) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The medical instruments supplier reported $1.77 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.74 by $0.03. Waters had a return on equity of 23.61% and a net margin of 24.34%. The company had revenue of $565.58 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $555.25 million. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.57 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 7.4% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts predict that Waters will post 7.42 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, SVP David Terricciano sold 21,997 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $197.52, for a total transaction of $4,344,847.44. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 9,173 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,811,850.96. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Thomas P. Salice sold 3,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $200.03, for a total value of $700,105.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 20,349 shares in the company, valued at $4,070,410.47. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 93,159 shares of company stock valued at $18,412,172. Company insiders own 5.07% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. grew its holdings in Waters by 0.4% during the second quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. now owns 573 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $105,000 after acquiring an additional 2 shares during the period. Diversified Trust Co grew its holdings in Waters by 0.4% in the second quarter. Diversified Trust Co now owns 1,285 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $236,000 after purchasing an additional 5 shares during the period. Alps Advisors Inc. grew its holdings in Waters by 0.3% in the second quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 3,062 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $563,000 after purchasing an additional 8 shares during the period. Advisor Group Inc. grew its holdings in Waters by 1.0% in the third quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 956 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $131,000 after purchasing an additional 9 shares during the period. Finally, Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan grew its holdings in Waters by 0.4% in the third quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan now owns 2,560 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $406,000 after purchasing an additional 10 shares during the period. 92.09% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Waters Company Profile

Waters Corporation is an analytical instrument manufacturer. The Company operates through two segments: Waters and TA. It designs, manufactures, sells and services high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC and together with HPLC, referred to as LC) and mass spectrometry (MS) technology systems and support products, including chromatography columns, other consumable products and post-warranty service plans.

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