Rockwell Automation (ROK) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “Rockwell Automation expects its adjusted EPS will be within $7.70 and $8.00 in fiscal 2018, depicting favorable manufacturing environment, positive macroeconomic indicators and strong first-half results. At the mid-point, EPS represents 16% year-over-year growth. It anticipates sales to be about $6.7 billion for the fiscal. Heavy industries will be the largest growth driver, backed by growth in emerging markets, and strong demand for metals and semiconductor. The positive impact of tax reform, increased investment, share repurchases and dividend hikes also remain catalysts for growth. Moreover, the stock has outperformed the industry in the past year. However, headwinds in transportation vertical, tariffs on imports from China and concern regarding global mining industry will hurt Rockwell Automation's performance. Further, it expects that growth in EMEA will slow in the fiscal which will impact the company’s results.”

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Cowen lifted their price target on shares of Rockwell Automation from $165.00 to $175.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 20th. Barclays began coverage on shares of Rockwell Automation in a research note on Thursday, February 15th. They issued an equal weight rating and a $200.00 price target for the company. Morgan Stanley dropped their price target on shares of Rockwell Automation from $206.00 to $187.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a research note on Monday, April 30th. JPMorgan Chase lifted their price target on shares of Rockwell Automation from $182.00 to $190.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Finally, Wells Fargo lifted their price target on shares of Rockwell Automation from $190.00 to $200.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Rockwell Automation has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $186.21.

ROK opened at $179.75 on Monday. The company has a market cap of $22.61 billion, a PE ratio of 26.59, a PEG ratio of 1.82 and a beta of 1.28. Rockwell Automation has a 52-week low of $178.14 and a 52-week high of $179.94. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63, a quick ratio of 1.79 and a current ratio of 2.10.

Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 25th. The industrial products company reported $1.89 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.82 by $0.07. The business had revenue of $1.65 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.66 billion. Rockwell Automation had a net margin of 6.34% and a return on equity of 42.38%. The business’s revenue was up 6.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.55 earnings per share. equities research analysts predict that Rockwell Automation will post 7.88 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Rockwell Automation announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan on Wednesday, January 24th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the industrial products company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 11th. Investors of record on Monday, May 14th will be paid a dividend of $0.92 per share. This is a boost from Rockwell Automation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.84. This represents a $3.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.05%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 11th. Rockwell Automation’s payout ratio is currently 54.44%.

In related news, insider John P. Mcdermott sold 2,050 shares of Rockwell Automation stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $187.90, for a total transaction of $385,195.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 40,353 shares in the company, valued at $7,582,328.70. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider John P. Mcdermott sold 7,000 shares of Rockwell Automation stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $187.15, for a total transaction of $1,310,050.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 45,303 shares in the company, valued at $8,478,456.45. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 14,050 shares of company stock worth $2,627,745. Company insiders own 1.65% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of ROK. Wealthcare Advisory Partners LLC raised its position in Rockwell Automation by 333.3% in the first quarter. Wealthcare Advisory Partners LLC now owns 676 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $118,000 after acquiring an additional 520 shares in the last quarter. Cerebellum GP LLC bought a new stake in Rockwell Automation in the fourth quarter worth about $130,000. Rockefeller Capital Management L.P. bought a new stake in Rockwell Automation in the first quarter worth about $139,000. Signaturefd LLC bought a new stake in Rockwell Automation in the first quarter worth about $141,000. Finally, Gofen & Glossberg LLC IL bought a new stake in Rockwell Automation in the fourth quarter worth about $202,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.16% of the company’s stock.

About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation Inc provides industrial automation and information solutions worldwide. It operates in two segments, Architecture & Software; and Control Products & Solutions. The Architecture & Software segment provides control platforms, including controllers, electronic operator interface devices, electronic input/output devices, communication and networking products, and industrial computers that perform multiple control disciplines and monitoring of applications, such as discrete, batch and continuous process, drives control, motion control, and machine safety control.

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