Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “NetApp is benefitting from strong product adoption, increasing deal wins, and expanding customer base across varied geographies. Moreover, the company’s transition to data fabric strategy (a software-defined approach to data management) is expanding business opportunities. Further, the company increased momentum of its HCI and expanded new cloud partnerships, which contributed to overall revenue growth. Management remains hopeful about making the most of the exponential rate of data growth with its cloud-integrated all-flash solutions that fit well with hybrid cloud infrastructure. Notably, shares of the company have outperformed the industry in the past year. However, declining OEM revenues and stiff competition remain headwinds. Increasing investments to enhance cloud platform might limit margin expansion in near term.”

A number of other research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Argus raised their price objective on shares of NetApp to $90.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, July 5th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Bank of America raised their price objective on shares of NetApp from $88.00 to $90.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Monday, August 13th. Guggenheim began coverage on shares of NetApp in a research note on Thursday, July 12th. They set a buy rating and a $94.00 price objective for the company. Piper Jaffray Companies raised their price objective on shares of NetApp from $77.00 to $86.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 26th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued a buy rating and set a $92.00 price objective on shares of NetApp in a research note on Thursday, August 16th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, eighteen have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $81.38.

Shares of NTAP stock traded down $0.47 during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $77.57. 2,295,680 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,335,174. NetApp has a 1-year low of $43.24 and a 1-year high of $88.08. The company has a current ratio of 2.06, a quick ratio of 2.03 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.80. The company has a market cap of $20.23 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.94, a PEG ratio of 1.41 and a beta of 1.28.

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 15th. The data storage provider reported $1.04 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.24. NetApp had a net margin of 3.68% and a return on equity of 41.75%. The company had revenue of $1.47 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.42 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.62 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 11.6% on a year-over-year basis. Sell-side analysts forecast that NetApp will post 3.91 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 24th. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 5th will be paid a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 4th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.06%. NetApp’s payout ratio is currently 53.51%.

In other NetApp news, CEO George Kurian sold 6,000 shares of NetApp stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.23, for a total value of $469,380.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Henri P. Richard sold 2,525 shares of NetApp stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.99, for a total transaction of $194,399.75. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 65,907 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,074,179.93. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 116,016 shares of company stock valued at $9,681,524 over the last ninety days. 0.19% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NTAP. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC grew its stake in NetApp by 15.7% in the 1st quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC now owns 5,618 shares of the data storage provider’s stock worth $346,000 after acquiring an additional 762 shares during the period. Natixis acquired a new position in shares of NetApp in the 1st quarter valued at $2,826,000. LPL Financial LLC boosted its holdings in shares of NetApp by 27.9% in the 1st quarter. LPL Financial LLC now owns 18,100 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $1,117,000 after purchasing an additional 3,947 shares during the last quarter. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC boosted its holdings in shares of NetApp by 104.7% in the 1st quarter. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC now owns 22,059 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $1,361,000 after purchasing an additional 11,284 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of NetApp by 22.3% in the 1st quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 381,020 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $23,505,000 after purchasing an additional 69,530 shares during the last quarter. 94.61% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About NetApp

NetApp, Inc provides software, systems, and services to manage and share date on-premises, and private and public clouds worldwide. It offers cloud data services, such as ONTAP cloud storage data management and NetApp cloud sync data synchronization services; NetApp SaaS backup for Microsoft Office 365; NetApp cloud backup solutions; OnCommand management software and management integration tools; and NetApp private storage for cloud.

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