Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE:ROK) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Rockwell Automation’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 adjusted earnings per share improved on a year driven by higher sales, partially offset by higher investment spending, incentive compensation. While revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate, earnings missed. Backed by improving global macroeconomic conditions and strong order performance, Rockwell Automation anticipates reported sales growth of 5-8% for fiscal 2018 and adjusted EPS in the range of $7.20-$7.50. The mid-point of the earnings guidance range depicts year-over-year growth of 9%. The company will benefit from the consistent growth in the consumer and transportation verticals as well as heavy industries. Investment Connected Enterprise (“CE”), acquisitions and share repurchases will support growth. Its shares have outperformed the industry in the past year. However, higher restructuring charges and input costs will dent near-term margins.”

Several other equities research analysts have also issued reports on ROK. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reiterated a hold rating on shares of Rockwell Automation in a report on Friday, August 18th. Citigroup Inc. lifted their price target on Rockwell Automation from $187.00 to $200.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a report on Friday. BidaskClub lowered Rockwell Automation from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Sunday, July 30th. HSBC Holdings plc lowered Rockwell Automation from a hold rating to a reduce rating in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. Finally, Morgan Stanley reiterated an equal weight rating and set a $173.00 price target (up from $168.00) on shares of Rockwell Automation in a report on Monday, October 2nd. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Rockwell Automation has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $165.00.

Rockwell Automation (ROK) traded up $2.80 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $192.61. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 541,900 shares, compared to its average volume of 881,349. The company has a current ratio of 3.46, a quick ratio of 1.76 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47. Rockwell Automation has a 52 week low of $129.28 and a 52 week high of $210.72. The stock has a market cap of $24,723.23, a PE ratio of 28.53, a PEG ratio of 2.29 and a beta of 1.24.

Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The industrial products company reported $1.69 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.72 by ($0.03). Rockwell Automation had a net margin of 13.08% and a return on equity of 38.67%. The business had revenue of $1.67 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.67 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.52 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 8.4% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Rockwell Automation will post 7.39 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 11th. Investors of record on Monday, November 13th will be issued a $0.835 dividend. This is a positive change from Rockwell Automation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.76. This represents a $3.34 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.73%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, November 10th. Rockwell Automation’s payout ratio is 47.95%.

In other news, insider Blake D. Moret sold 5,677 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $170.10, for a total transaction of $965,657.70. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 21,426 shares in the company, valued at $3,644,562.60. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Blake D. Moret sold 1,723 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $170.06, for a total value of $293,013.38. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 22,849 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,885,700.94. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 10,400 shares of company stock valued at $1,753,821. Corporate insiders own 1.65% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. CWM LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Rockwell Automation by 0.3% during the second quarter. CWM LLC now owns 2,125 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $344,000 after buying an additional 6 shares during the last quarter. Keel Point LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Rockwell Automation by 0.3% during the second quarter. Keel Point LLC now owns 1,724 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $279,000 after buying an additional 6 shares during the last quarter. Advisor Partners LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Rockwell Automation by 0.3% during the second quarter. Advisor Partners LLC now owns 2,567 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $416,000 after buying an additional 8 shares during the last quarter. Sfmg LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Rockwell Automation by 0.4% during the second quarter. Sfmg LLC now owns 1,796 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $291,000 after buying an additional 8 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Westside Investment Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Rockwell Automation by 0.5% during the second quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,666 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $274,000 after purchasing an additional 9 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 73.79% of the company’s stock.

Rockwell Automation Company Profile

Rockwell Automation, Inc (Rockwell Automation) is a provider of industrial automation power, control and information solutions for manufacturers. The Company operates through two segments: Architecture & Software and Control Products & Solutions. The Architecture & Software segment contains various hardware, software and communication components of the Company’s integrated control and information architecture capable of controlling the customer’s industrial processes and connecting with their manufacturing enterprise.

Analyst Recommendations for Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK)

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