A. O. Smith (AOS) Lifted to Hold 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 Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Over the past six months, A.O. Smith’s stock has outperformed the industry average. The company also has an impressive earnings surprise history, having beaten estimates thrice over the four trailing quarters.  A flourishing water heater industry, robust consumer product demand in China and positive industry trends are likely to drive top-line growth, going forward. Also, acquisition of residential water treatment firm, Aquasana, looks promising. However, on the flip side, appreciation in steel prices is expected to put margins under pressure. Moreover, transition of the Chinese economy to a consumer driven one has resulted in a significant slowdown that might impact the company’s sales in the region.  Also, strong competition in the water boilers and heaters industry compounds the company’s challenges.”

A number of other research analysts have also issued reports on AOS. Stifel Nicolaus restated a hold rating and set a $59.00 price objective on shares of A. O. Smith in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Robert W. Baird restated a buy rating and set a $64.00 price objective on shares of A. O. Smith in a research report on Wednesday, October 4th. Boenning Scattergood lowered A. O. Smith from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 25th. Finally, SunTrust Banks restated a buy rating and set a $65.00 price objective on shares of A. O. Smith in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $62.40.

A. O. Smith (NYSE:AOS) opened at $65.32 on Thursday. The company has a market capitalization of $11,230.34, a P/E ratio of 32.02, a PEG ratio of 2.19 and a beta of 1.55. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.27, a current ratio of 2.32 and a quick ratio of 1.92. A. O. Smith has a 12-month low of $46.44 and a 12-month high of $65.37.

A. O. Smith (NYSE:AOS) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The industrial products company reported $0.54 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.01. A. O. Smith had a return on equity of 22.42% and a net margin of 12.18%. The company had revenue of $749.90 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $741.28 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.47 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 9.7% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts expect that A. O. Smith will post 2.13 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, VP James F. Stern sold 12,423 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.28, for a total transaction of $773,704.44. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 146,257 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,108,885.96. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Kevin J. Wheeler sold 13,293 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.49, for a total value of $817,386.57. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 30,748 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,890,694.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 100,156 shares of company stock valued at $6,092,537 in the last 90 days. Insiders own 1.27% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in AOS. Toronto Dominion Bank boosted its position in A. O. Smith by 11.8% during the 2nd quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 1,807 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $102,000 after acquiring an additional 191 shares during the period. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC boosted its position in A. O. Smith by 973.5% during the 2nd quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 1,825 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $103,000 after acquiring an additional 1,655 shares during the period. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. boosted its position in A. O. Smith by 6.4% during the 2nd quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 1,986 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $112,000 after acquiring an additional 119 shares during the period. Mountain Capital Investment Advisors Inc acquired a new position in A. O. Smith during the 2nd quarter worth $124,000. Finally, ELCO Management Co. LLC acquired a new position in A. O. Smith during the 2nd quarter worth $206,000. Institutional investors own 74.93% of the company’s stock.

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About A. O. Smith

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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