Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of NetApp, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning. The brokerage currently has $49.00 target price on the data storage provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “NetApp's better-than-expected first-quarter 2018 results benefited from continuous product refreshes and growing portfolio based on SolidFire acquisition. Extended partnership with Microsoft also looks beneficial for the company. The company is also winning customers previously served by competitors like HP and EMC. Meanwhile, cost reduction initiatives will facilitate margin expansion over the long run. Notably, the company has outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis. However, intensifying competition in the flash segment is a major headwind.”

Several other research analysts also recently commented on NTAP. BidaskClub downgraded NetApp from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Saturday, August 12th. Credit Suisse Group lifted their target price on NetApp from $37.00 to $40.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $46.00 target price (up from $44.00) on shares of NetApp in a report on Wednesday. Citigroup Inc. lifted their target price on NetApp from $41.00 to $43.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Thursday, August 17th. Finally, Susquehanna Bancshares Inc reaffirmed a positive rating and set a $50.00 target price (up from $48.00) on shares of NetApp in a report on Wednesday, August 16th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-one have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $45.12.

NetApp (NASDAQ NTAP) opened at 44.43 on Wednesday. NetApp has a 1-year low of $30.36 and a 1-year high of $45.24. The firm has a market cap of $11.99 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.45 and a beta of 1.26. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $40.83 and a 200 day moving average price of $40.75.

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, August 16th. The data storage provider reported $0.62 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by $0.07. The firm had revenue of $1.33 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.32 billion. NetApp had a return on equity of 24.13% and a net margin of 10.47%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 2.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.46 EPS. Equities analysts predict that NetApp will post $3.12 earnings per share for the current year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 25th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 6th will be issued a $0.20 dividend. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.80%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 5th. NetApp’s dividend payout ratio is presently 38.65%.

In related news, EVP Henri P. Richard sold 1,976 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.89, for a total value of $86,726.64. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 15,836 shares in the company, valued at $695,042.04. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO George Kurian sold 4,570 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $37.98, for a total value of $173,568.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 23,028 shares in the company, valued at approximately $874,603.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 52,450 shares of company stock valued at $2,250,560. 0.47% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. American Beacon Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in NetApp in the first quarter valued at approximately $110,000. Krilogy Financial LLC purchased a new position in NetApp in the second quarter valued at approximately $122,000. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. lifted its stake in NetApp by 3.7% in the second quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 5,189 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $208,000 after purchasing an additional 185 shares during the last quarter. Eagle Global Advisors LLC purchased a new position in NetApp in the second quarter valued at approximately $210,000. Finally, CAPROCK Group Inc. lifted its stake in NetApp by 0.8% in the second quarter. CAPROCK Group Inc. now owns 5,278 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $211,000 after purchasing an additional 44 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 92.08% of the company’s stock.

About NetApp

NetApp, Inc (NetApp) provides software, systems and services to manage and store customer data. The Company enables enterprises, service providers, governmental organizations, and partners to envision, deploy and evolve their information technology (IT) environments. The Company offers a portfolio of products and services that satisfy a range of customer workloads across different data types and deployment models.

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