Trade Report: Today: A.O. Smith Corp. (AOS) Upgrade to Buy at The Zacks Investment Research

Today: A.O. Smith Corp. (AOS) Upgrade to Buy at The Zacks Investment Research

A.O. Smith Corp. (NYSE:AOS) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Monday. The brokerage presently has a $55.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s target price suggests a potential upside of 11.79% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “A.O. Smith has an excellent earnings surprise history, beating estimates each time in the trailing four quarters. The company’s dominant foothold in the North American water heater market, along with thriving prospects in residential and commercial boiler markets are expected to boost growth. Sales of residential and commercial boilers are largely driven by innovation by Lochinvar. Going forward in 2016, the company projects growth rate of 8% for total Lochinvar-branded products.  Also, the recent acquisition of residential water treatment firm – Aquasana – is expected to fortify the geographic footprint. The company expects its China operations to maintain momentum and experience about 15% growth rate in local currency in 2016. However, foreign currency fluctuations, escalating SG&A & other corporate expenses and higher steel prices are likely to act as significant headwinds in the forthcoming quarters.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on the stock. KeyCorp restated a “buy” rating and issued a $107.00 price target on shares of A.O. Smith Corp. in a report on Thursday, October 6th. Jefferies Group cut their price objective on shares of A.O. Smith Corp. from $55.50 to $43.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, September 23rd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets set a $53.00 price objective on shares of A.O. Smith Corp. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $54.14.

Shares of A.O. Smith Corp. (NYSE:AOS) traded down 0.98% on Monday, reaching $48.72. 312,065 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock has a market capitalization of $8.47 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.61 and a beta of 1.40. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $47.43 and its 200 day moving average price is $45.58. A.O. Smith Corp. has a 52 week low of $30.15 and a 52 week high of $51.49.

A.O. Smith Corp. (NYSE:AOS) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 26th. The company reported $0.47 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.02. A.O. Smith Corp. had a net margin of 12.32% and a return on equity of 21.84%. The business earned $683.90 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $577.20 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.41 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 9.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts anticipate that A.O. Smith Corp. will post $1.83 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, November 15th. Stockholders of record on Monday, October 31st were issued a $0.12 dividend. This represents a $0.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.98%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, October 27th. A.O. Smith Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 26.30%.

In other news, SVP Charles T. Lauber sold 2,473 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.12, for a total value of $119,000.76. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, VP James F. Stern sold 20,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.69, for a total transaction of $953,800.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 85,267 shares in the company, valued at $4,066,383.23. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.76% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AOS. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC increased its stake in A.O. Smith Corp. by 100.0% in the third quarter. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC now owns 9,676 shares of the company’s stock valued at $456,000 after buying an additional 4,839 shares during the period. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. acquired a new stake in A.O. Smith Corp. during the third quarter valued at approximately $630,000. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. increased its stake in A.O. Smith Corp. by 104.3% in the third quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 24,040 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,374,000 after buying an additional 12,271 shares during the period. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec acquired a new stake in A.O. Smith Corp. during the third quarter valued at approximately $1,413,000. Finally, Dai Ichi Life Holdings Inc. increased its stake in A.O. Smith Corp. by 16.2% in the third quarter. Dai Ichi Life Holdings Inc. now owns 45,479 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,493,000 after buying an additional 6,351 shares during the period. 37.60% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

A.O. Smith Corp. Company Profile

A. O. Smith Corporation operates its business through two segments, which include North America and Rest of World. The Company’s Rest of World segment primarily comprises China, Europe and India. The Rest of World segment supplies water heaters to the residential market in China with a range of product offering, including electric, gas, gas tankless, heat pump and solar units, as well as combi boilers.

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