A. O. Smith (NYSE:AOS) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of A. O. Smith (NYSE:AOS) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday, January 31st. Zacks Investment Research currently has $75.00 price objective on the industrial products company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “A.O. Smith’s fourth-quarter 2017 earnings grew 28% from the year-ago tally on the back of robust sales growth. A flourishing water heater industry, robust consumer product demand in China and positive industry trends are likely to drive top-line growth, going forward. Hague products and Aquasana have also significantly boosted the company’s sales. Also, a dominant foothold in the North American water heater market is likely to stoke growth. Over the past six months, A.O. Smith’s stock has outperformed the industry average. However, over the past few quarters, the company’s SG&A expenses in China (including elevated steel costs and higher fees paid to installers) have been quite high, which is creating pressure on the company’s operating margins. Also, transition of the Chinese economy to a consumer-driven one might impact A.O. Smith’s sales in the region.”

Other research analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Boenning Scattergood restated a hold rating on shares of A. O. Smith in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Robert W. Baird reiterated a buy rating and set a $70.00 price target on shares of A. O. Smith in a research report on Wednesday, January 31st. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a hold rating and set a $61.00 price target on shares of A. O. Smith in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a buy rating and set a $78.00 price target on shares of A. O. Smith in a research report on Friday, January 26th. Finally, SunTrust Banks reissued a buy rating and issued a $65.00 price objective on shares of A. O. Smith in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. A. O. Smith has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $67.83.

A. O. Smith (NYSE:AOS) traded up $0.72 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $60.96. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,263,186 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,285,568. The company has a quick ratio of 1.87, a current ratio of 2.24 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.24. A. O. Smith has a 52 week low of $48.92 and a 52 week high of $68.39. The stock has a market cap of $10,480.73, a P/E ratio of 35.86, a PEG ratio of 1.78 and a beta of 1.53.

A. O. Smith (NYSE:AOS) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, January 30th. The industrial products company reported $0.60 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.56 by $0.04. A. O. Smith had a return on equity of 23.30% and a net margin of 9.89%. The company had revenue of $768.60 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $767.45 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.47 EPS. A. O. Smith’s revenue for the quarter was up 10.1% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts anticipate that A. O. Smith will post 2.57 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, January 31st will be given a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, January 30th. This is a positive change from A. O. Smith’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.18%. A. O. Smith’s payout ratio is 42.35%.

In other news, insider Peter R. Martineau sold 9,723 shares of A. O. Smith stock in a transaction on Friday, November 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.02, for a total transaction of $573,851.46. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director William P. Greubel sold 17,856 shares of A. O. Smith stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.50, for a total value of $1,187,424.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 86,151 shares of company stock worth $5,384,359 over the last ninety days. 1.27% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Toronto Dominion Bank grew its stake in A. O. Smith by 11.8% in the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 1,807 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $102,000 after purchasing an additional 191 shares in the last quarter. M&T Bank Corp grew its stake in A. O. Smith by 6.5% in the second quarter. M&T Bank Corp now owns 8,697 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $491,000 after purchasing an additional 534 shares in the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. boosted its stake in shares of A. O. Smith by 1.4% during the 2nd quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 48,372 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $2,725,000 after acquiring an additional 657 shares in the last quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd boosted its stake in shares of A. O. Smith by 22.1% during the 2nd quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd now owns 4,378 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $247,000 after acquiring an additional 793 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Gulf International Bank UK Ltd boosted its stake in shares of A. O. Smith by 2.0% during the 4th quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 45,700 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $2,800,000 after acquiring an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.19% of the company’s stock.

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A. O. Smith Company Profile

A. O. Smith Corporation operates through two segments: North America and Rest of World. The Company’s Rest of World segment primarily consists of China, Europe and India. Both segments manufacture and market comprehensive lines of residential and commercial gas, gas tankless and electric water heaters, as well as water treatment products.

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