A. O. Smith (NYSE:AOS) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Over the past six months, A.O. Smith’s stock has outperformed the industry average. The company also has an impressive earnings surprise history, having beaten estimates thrice over the four trailing quarters.  A flourishing water heater industry, robust consumer product demand in China and positive industry trends are likely to drive top-line growth, going forward. Also, acquisition of residential water treatment firm, Aquasana, looks promising. However, on the flip side, appreciation in steel prices is expected to put margins under pressure. Moreover, transition of the Chinese economy to a consumer driven one has resulted in a significant slowdown that might impact the company’s sales in the region.  Also, strong competition in the water boilers and heaters industry compounds the company’s challenges.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on the company. Stifel Nicolaus restated a “hold” rating and set a $59.00 target price on shares of A. O. Smith in a research report on Monday, December 11th. Robert W. Baird restated a “buy” rating and set a $68.00 target price on shares of A. O. Smith in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Boenning Scattergood lowered A. O. Smith from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 25th. Finally, SunTrust Banks restated a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 target price on shares of A. O. Smith in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the stock. A. O. Smith has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $62.40.

Shares of A. O. Smith (AOS) traded up $0.57 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $65.32. The stock had a trading volume of 856,560 shares, compared to its average volume of 671,164. The firm has a market capitalization of $11,230.00, a PE ratio of 32.02, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.17 and a beta of 1.57. The company has a current ratio of 2.32, a quick ratio of 1.92 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.27. A. O. Smith has a 12 month low of $46.44 and a 12 month high of $65.37.

A. O. Smith (NYSE:AOS) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The industrial products company reported $0.54 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $749.90 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $741.28 million. A. O. Smith had a return on equity of 22.42% and a net margin of 12.18%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 9.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.47 earnings per share. equities analysts forecast that A. O. Smith will post 2.13 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, insider Peter R. Martineau sold 22,267 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.33, for a total transaction of $1,321,101.11. Following the sale, the insider now owns 17,528 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,039,936.24. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, SVP Charles T. Lauber sold 7,594 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $59.85, for a total value of $454,500.90. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 26,240 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,570,464. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 100,156 shares of company stock worth $6,092,537. 1.27% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Pensionfund Sabic bought a new position in A. O. Smith in the fourth quarter worth approximately $1,471,000. Pensionfund DSM Netherlands bought a new position in A. O. Smith in the fourth quarter worth approximately $2,880,000. Atlantic Trust Group LLC bought a new position in A. O. Smith in the third quarter worth approximately $36,764,000. Sterling Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in A. O. Smith by 17.0% in the third quarter. Sterling Capital Management LLC now owns 31,912 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $1,897,000 after acquiring an additional 4,646 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bamco Inc. NY boosted its holdings in A. O. Smith by 35.5% in the third quarter. Bamco Inc. NY now owns 528,694 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $31,420,000 after acquiring an additional 138,580 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.93% of the company’s stock.

COPYRIGHT VIOLATION NOTICE: “A. O. Smith (AOS) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research” was posted by Watch List News and is owned by of Watch List News. If you are reading this article on another website, it was illegally copied and republished in violation of international trademark and copyright laws. The original version of this article can be read at https://www.watchlistnews.com/a-o-smith-aos-stock-rating-upgraded-by-zacks-investment-research/1806332.html.

About A. O. Smith

A. O. Smith Corporation operates through two segments: North America and Rest of World. The Company’s Rest of World segment primarily consists of China, Europe and India. Both segments manufacture and market comprehensive lines of residential and commercial gas, gas tankless and electric water heaters, as well as water treatment products.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on A. O. Smith (AOS)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for A. O. Smith (NYSE:AOS)

Receive News & Ratings for A. O. Smith Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for A. O. Smith and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.