ABAXIS, Inc. (ABAX) Rating Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of ABAXIS, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABAX) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday, October 26th.

According to Zacks, “Abaxis exited the second quarter of fiscal 2018 on a disappointing with revenues lagging the Zacks Consensus Estimate. We are also concerned about the rising operating expenses and a weak operating margin scenario of late. Challenges like competitive bidding continue to hurt the stock. This apart, valuation remains stretched. Overall, in the last three months, Abaxis has been trading below the broader industry. However, a year-over-year increase in revenues buoys optimism. We are looking forward to improved consumable revenues that boosted veterinary sales performance at Abaxis in the quarter. Meanwhile, the company is initiating new sales and marketing strategies. In this regard, recently in September, Abaxis started shipping VetScan UA, urine chemistry analyzer. Abaxis plans additional product launches in fiscal 2018, including the VetScan FUSE connectivity system.”

ABAX has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Bank of America Corporation reissued an underperform rating and issued a $42.00 target price on shares of ABAXIS in a research note on Wednesday, August 23rd. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $48.00 price objective on shares of ABAXIS in a research note on Friday, July 14th. Finally, BidaskClub cut ABAXIS from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $47.63.

Shares of ABAXIS (NASDAQ:ABAX) opened at $46.46 on Thursday. ABAXIS has a 12-month low of $43.66 and a 12-month high of $55.95. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,054.50, a price-to-earnings ratio of 38.72 and a beta of 0.86.

ABAXIS (NASDAQ:ABAX) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The medical research company reported $0.29 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.27 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $58.90 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $60.85 million. ABAXIS had a return on equity of 10.18% and a net margin of 11.98%. The firm’s revenue was up .5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.34 earnings per share. analysts expect that ABAXIS will post 1.11 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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ABAXIS declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Tuesday, October 24th that allows the company to buyback $21.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization allows the medical research company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 1st will be issued a $0.16 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 30th. This is a positive change from ABAXIS’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. This represents a $0.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.38%. ABAXIS’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 46.67%.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ABAX. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of ABAXIS by 31.5% during the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,188 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $106,000 after purchasing an additional 524 shares during the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC raised its holdings in ABAXIS by 11.2% in the 1st quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 2,256 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $109,000 after acquiring an additional 228 shares during the last quarter. Invictus RG purchased a new position in ABAXIS in the 1st quarter worth approximately $112,000. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. raised its holdings in ABAXIS by 8.7% in the 1st quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 4,129 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $200,000 after acquiring an additional 330 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue raised its holdings in ABAXIS by 79.8% in the 2nd quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 4,477 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $237,000 after acquiring an additional 1,987 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 98.57% of the company’s stock.

About ABAXIS

Abaxis, Inc is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of portable blood analysis systems that are used in medical specialties in human or veterinary patient care to provide clinicians with blood constituent measurements. The Company markets and sells its products around the world through independent distributors and direct sales force.

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