Zacks Investment Research Upgrades ViaSat, Inc. (NASDAQ:VSAT) to Hold

ViaSat, Inc. (NASDAQ:VSAT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday, October 25th.

According to Zacks, “ViaSat has a decent earnings surprise history, beating estimates thrice over the trailing four quarters.  Currently, two of the company’s segments, namely Government Systems and Satellite Services are acting as major profit churners. The company recently launched ViaSat-2 satellite, which holds tremendous potential over the long run. ViaSat believes that steady growth in in-flight Internet services, mobile broadband, consumer ARPU gains and cost-reduction initiatives will continue to act as catalysts. However, seasonality in satellite service segment, strong competition and soaring research and development expenses continue to be headwinds for the company. Moreover, persistent weakness in the Commercial Networks segment, due to soft sales of large integrated antenna systems programs, is proving to be a drag on the company’s financials. ViaSat shares have underperformed the industry’s average return as well, over the past year.”

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on VSAT. B. Riley reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $89.00 target price on shares of ViaSat in a report on Monday, August 7th. Royal Bank of Canada lowered their target price on ViaSat from $50.00 to $48.00 and set an “underperform” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Barclays PLC reiterated an “equal weight” rating and set a $80.00 target price (down previously from $82.00) on shares of ViaSat in a report on Monday, July 10th. TheStreet cut ViaSat from a “b-” rating to a “c” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC set a $67.00 target price on ViaSat and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Sunday, September 10th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $74.09.

Shares of ViaSat (NASDAQ VSAT) traded up $3.50 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $68.40. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 947,200 shares, compared to its average volume of 440,554. The firm has a market cap of $3,779.59, a PE ratio of 1,298.00 and a beta of 0.74. The company has a current ratio of 2.26, a quick ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.54. ViaSat has a 52-week low of $57.75 and a 52-week high of $82.19.

ViaSat (NASDAQ:VSAT) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The communications equipment provider reported $0.09 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.02 by $0.07. The firm had revenue of $393.10 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $401.83 million. ViaSat had a positive return on equity of 0.13% and a negative net margin of 0.75%. ViaSat’s quarterly revenue was down 1.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.40 EPS. equities analysts anticipate that ViaSat will post -1.05 EPS for the current year.

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In related news, Director John P. Stenbit sold 700 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.70, for a total value of $44,590.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 8,700 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $554,190. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Mark D. Dankberg sold 28,500 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, September 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.12, for a total value of $1,713,420.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 28,500 shares in the company, valued at $1,713,420. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 124,350 shares of company stock worth $7,838,977 over the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 7.70% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its position in shares of ViaSat by 63.6% in the 3rd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 141,653 shares of the communications equipment provider’s stock worth $9,112,000 after buying an additional 55,062 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc raised its position in shares of ViaSat by 12.7% in the 3rd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 50,154 shares of the communications equipment provider’s stock worth $3,227,000 after buying an additional 5,647 shares during the period. South Dakota Investment Council raised its position in shares of ViaSat by 37.8% in the 3rd quarter. South Dakota Investment Council now owns 109,377 shares of the communications equipment provider’s stock worth $7,035,000 after buying an additional 30,000 shares during the period. Three Peaks Capital Management LLC raised its position in ViaSat by 5.9% in the third quarter. Three Peaks Capital Management LLC now owns 200,005 shares of the communications equipment provider’s stock valued at $12,864,000 after purchasing an additional 11,223 shares during the period. Finally, American International Group Inc. raised its position in ViaSat by 4.2% in the third quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 146,089 shares of the communications equipment provider’s stock valued at $9,396,000 after purchasing an additional 5,852 shares during the period. 99.57% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About ViaSat

ViaSat, Inc is engaged in broadband technologies and services. The Company operates through three segments: satellite services, commercial networks and government systems. The satellite services segment provides satellite-based broadband services to consumers, enterprises, commercial airlines and mobile broadband customers primarily in the United States.

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