Abaxis (ABAX) Upgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Abaxis (NASDAQ:ABAX) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday, December 26th.

According to Zacks, “Abaxis' rising operating expenses and a weak operating margin scenario pose concerns for the company of late. Challenges like competitive bidding continue to hurt the stock. This apart, valuation remains stretched. Overall, in the last six 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.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on ABAX. BidaskClub raised Abaxis from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, December 21st. Aegis reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of Abaxis in a research report on Friday, December 1st. TheStreet raised Abaxis from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 29th. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $47.00 price objective (up from $46.00) on shares of Abaxis in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Bank of America lowered their price target on Abaxis from $42.00 to $39.00 and set an underperform rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, October 25th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $47.63.

Abaxis (ABAX) opened at $62.44 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $1,410.00, a P/E ratio of 52.03 and a beta of 0.86. Abaxis has a twelve month low of $43.66 and a twelve month high of $62.98.

Abaxis (NASDAQ:ABAX) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The medical research company reported $0.29 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.27 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $58.90 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $60.85 million. Abaxis had a return on equity of 9.66% and a net margin of 11.22%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up .5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.34 EPS. analysts expect that Abaxis will post 1.08 earnings per share for the current year.

Abaxis announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback program on Tuesday, October 24th that allows the company to repurchase $21.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the medical research company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Friday, December 1st were issued a $0.16 dividend. This is a boost from Abaxis’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.02%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, November 30th. Abaxis’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 53.33%.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of ABAX. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in Abaxis by 17.6% in the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,574 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $136,000 after buying an additional 386 shares in the last quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. purchased a new stake in Abaxis in the 2nd quarter worth $239,000. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd purchased a new stake in Abaxis in the 3rd quarter worth $257,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Abaxis in the 2nd quarter worth $260,000. Finally, Cetera Investment Advisers purchased a new position in shares of Abaxis during the third quarter valued at about $263,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 97.66% of the company’s stock.

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Abaxis Company Profile

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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