Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Waters Corporation (NYSE:WAT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Friday morning. The firm currently has $194.00 target price on the medical instruments supplier’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Waters Corp. continued its brilliant earnings beat streak, as its second-quarter 2017 earnings trumped the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.3%, and grew an impressive 11.4% from the prior-year quarter figure. Going forward, the company believes that strength in end markets, stable demand from pharmaceutical business, steady growth in recurring revenue and modest recovery in industrial markets will accelerate its growth momentum. Further, the high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry markets has acted as a strong revenue driver for the past few quarters. Despite the strong earnings, shares of Water Corp. have underperformed the Zacks classified Instruments-Scientific industry over the past six months. Softness in the company’s academic and government businesses are expected to thwart growth; and higher R&D outlay will push expenses higher and hurt immediate profits. “

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Cantor Fitzgerald reissued a buy rating and issued a $190.00 target price (up previously from $170.00) on shares of Waters Corporation in a report on Tuesday, April 25th. Barclays PLC set a $160.00 target price on Waters Corporation and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, April 26th. Cowen and Company lifted their target price on Waters Corporation from $160.00 to $175.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a report on Wednesday, April 26th. Janney Montgomery Scott raised Waters Corporation from a neutral rating to a buy rating and lifted their target price for the stock from $185.00 to $200.00 in a report on Monday, May 1st. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reissued a hold rating and issued a $170.00 target price on shares of Waters Corporation in a report on Friday, July 14th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. Waters Corporation has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $186.00.

Waters Corporation (WAT) opened at 173.44 on Friday. Waters Corporation has a 52 week low of $133.35 and a 52 week high of $187.65. The company has a market cap of $13.87 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.14 and a beta of 0.85. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $182.41 and a 200-day moving average price of $165.85.

Waters Corporation (NYSE:WAT) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, July 25th. The medical instruments supplier reported $1.76 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.71 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $558.30 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $553.22 million. Waters Corporation had a return on equity of 23.91% and a net margin of 24.26%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.58 EPS. Equities research analysts anticipate that Waters Corporation will post $7.38 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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Waters Corporation announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, May 11th that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the medical instruments supplier to reacquire up to 7.3% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, SVP Terrence P. Kelly sold 19,580 shares of Waters Corporation stock in a transaction on Thursday, May 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $173.67, for a total value of $3,400,458.60. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 6,398 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,111,140.66. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, VP Michael F. Silveira sold 620 shares of Waters Corporation stock in a transaction on Friday, May 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $172.27, for a total value of $106,807.40. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 1,688 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $290,791.76. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 127,078 shares of company stock valued at $22,657,923 in the last ninety days. 5.07% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Diversified Trust Co raised its stake in Waters Corporation by 0.4% in the second quarter. Diversified Trust Co now owns 1,285 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $236,000 after buying an additional 5 shares in the last quarter. Cleararc Capital Inc. raised its stake in Waters Corporation by 0.6% in the first quarter. Cleararc Capital Inc. now owns 1,950 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $305,000 after buying an additional 11 shares in the last quarter. Creative Planning raised its stake in Waters Corporation by 1.6% in the first quarter. Creative Planning now owns 744 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 12 shares in the last quarter. Lowe Brockenbrough & Co. Inc. raised its stake in Waters Corporation by 0.8% in the second quarter. Lowe Brockenbrough & Co. Inc. now owns 1,528 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $281,000 after buying an additional 12 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Quadrant Capital Group LLC raised its stake in Waters Corporation by 4.4% in the first quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 822 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $124,000 after buying an additional 35 shares in the last quarter. 91.87% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Waters Corporation

Waters Corporation is an analytical instrument manufacturer. The Company operates through two segments: Waters and TA. It designs, manufactures, sells and services high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC and together with HPLC, referred to as LC) and mass spectrometry (MS) technology systems and support products, including chromatography columns, other consumable products and post-warranty service plans.

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