Woodward Inc. (NASDAQ:WWD) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday. The brokerage presently has a $67.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 10.52% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Woodward is steadily becoming a major supplier of aircraft, gas turbines and heavy-duty engines. The company also stands to benefit from increased global usage of natural gas as a source of electricity and transportation fuel. Woodward has also been recently witnessing strong backlog in the commercial aerospace space due to rising demand for fuel-efficient aircraft and increasing passenger miles. That said, Woodward's dependence on government defense budgets, stiff competition from a number of major players in the U.S. and abroad, persistent market weakness and sluggish growth in China are major concerns for the company.”

Other research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Barrington Research initiated coverage on Woodward in a research note on Friday, September 16th. They issued a “market perform” rating on the stock. Maxim Group boosted their price target on Woodward from $60.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, July 15th. Finally, Jefferies Group reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $59.00 price target (up previously from $54.00) on shares of Woodward in a research note on Thursday, June 2nd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $60.25.

Woodward (NASDAQ:WWD) opened at 60.62 on Tuesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.73 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.10 and a beta of 1.33. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $60.89 and a 200 day moving average price of $56.70. Woodward has a 52 week low of $39.68 and a 52 week high of $63.98.

Woodward (NASDAQ:WWD) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $0.81 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.76 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $508 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $521.70 million. Woodward had a return on equity of 15.53% and a net margin of 8.40%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 2.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.66 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that Woodward will post $2.78 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 28th. Shareholders of record on Monday, November 14th will be paid a dividend of $0.11 per share. This represents a $0.44 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.73%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 9th. Woodward’s payout ratio is currently 16.73%.

In other news, VP Christopher Fawzy sold 6,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.30, for a total transaction of $355,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 9,506 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $563,705.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Mary L. Petrovich sold 8,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.54, for a total value of $480,028.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 6.18% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its position in shares of Woodward by 28.8% in the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,983 shares of the company’s stock worth $114,000 after buying an additional 443 shares during the period. Advisor Group Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Woodward during the second quarter worth about $124,000. Panagora Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Woodward by 2,301.0% in the second quarter. Panagora Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,401 shares of the company’s stock worth $138,000 after buying an additional 2,301 shares during the period. Acadian Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Woodward during the second quarter worth about $160,000. Finally, Advisors Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Woodward by 112.5% in the second quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 3,188 shares of the company’s stock worth $184,000 after buying an additional 1,688 shares during the period. 75.09% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Woodward

Woodward, Inc is a designer, manufacturer, and service provider of energy controls and optimization solutions. The Company has production and assembly facilities in the United States, Europe and Asia, and promotes its products and services through its worldwide locations. The Company’s is engaged in providing energy control and optimization solutions for the aerospace and energy markets.

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