Rockwell Automation, Inc. (ROK) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE:ROK) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a 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.”

ROK has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a neutral rating and set a $174.00 price target (up previously from $154.00) on shares of Rockwell Automation in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. Cowen and Company restated a hold rating and issued a $140.00 price target on shares of Rockwell Automation in a research report on Sunday, September 17th. Citigroup Inc. restated a neutral rating and issued a $187.00 price target (up from $175.00) on shares of Rockwell Automation in a research report on Monday, October 9th. ValuEngine cut shares of Rockwell Automation from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co upgraded shares of Rockwell Automation from an underweight rating to a neutral rating and set a $153.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. Rockwell Automation currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $165.00.

Rockwell Automation (ROK) traded down $0.07 during trading on Friday, hitting $192.54. 632,200 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 863,158. The firm has a market cap of $24,723.27, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.53, a PEG ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 1.24. Rockwell Automation has a one year low of $129.66 and a one year high of $210.72. The company has a quick ratio of 3.00, a current ratio of 3.46 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47.

Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The industrial products company reported $1.69 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.72 by ($0.03). The company had revenue of $1.67 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.67 billion. Rockwell Automation had a net margin of 13.08% and a return on equity of 38.67%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 8.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.52 EPS. sell-side analysts anticipate that Rockwell Automation will post 7.39 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 11th. Stockholders of record on Monday, November 13th will be given a $0.835 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, November 10th. This is an increase from Rockwell Automation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.76. This represents a $3.34 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.73%. Rockwell Automation’s dividend payout ratio is currently 52.68%.

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

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Cowen Inc. bought a new position in Rockwell Automation in the 3rd quarter worth about $1,782,000. First Republic Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake in Rockwell Automation by 20.1% in the 3rd quarter. First Republic Investment Management Inc. now owns 10,773 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $1,919,000 after purchasing an additional 1,801 shares in the last quarter. Anchor Bolt Capital LP boosted its stake in Rockwell Automation by 223.5% in the 3rd quarter. Anchor Bolt Capital LP now owns 163,631 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $29,161,000 after purchasing an additional 113,043 shares in the last quarter. Asset Management One Co. Ltd. boosted its stake in Rockwell Automation by 2.0% in the 3rd quarter. Asset Management One Co. Ltd. now owns 208,312 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $37,109,000 after purchasing an additional 4,177 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp boosted its stake in Rockwell Automation by 58.9% in the 3rd quarter. BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp now owns 110,758 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $19,738,000 after purchasing an additional 41,074 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 72.90% of the company’s stock.

About Rockwell Automation

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.

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