Abaxis (ABAX) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Abaxis (NASDAQ:ABAX) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a report published on Tuesday morning. They currently have $79.00 price objective on the medical research company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Over the past three months, Abaxis has been outperforming the broader industry. The company witnessing solid consumable and instrument sales growth along with strength in the Medical and Veterinary market segments buoys optimism. With regard to the company’s recent implementation of new sales and marketing strategies, Abaxis has received approval from USDA, Center for Veterinary Biologics, for VetScan FLEX4 Rapid Test. Abaxis plans additional launches in fiscal 2018, including the urine sediment analyzer. According to the company, these products will drive growth over the long haul. However, rising expenses along with weak gross and operating margin scenario pose concerns for the company of late. Challenges like competitive bidding continue to hurt the stock. This apart, valuation remains stretched.”

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ABAX has been the subject of several other reports. Stifel Nicolaus lifted their price target on shares of Abaxis from $48.00 to $57.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Friday, January 26th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Abaxis from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 12th. Northcoast Research raised shares of Abaxis from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, January 5th. Canaccord Genuity reissued a hold rating and set a $65.00 target price on shares of Abaxis in a research note on Monday, January 29th. Finally, UBS raised shares of Abaxis from an underperform rating to a market perform rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating, two have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Abaxis has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $61.10.

NASDAQ ABAX opened at $68.85 on Tuesday. Abaxis has a one year low of $43.66 and a one year high of $78.53. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,609.52, a PE ratio of 54.21, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 9.63 and a beta of 1.16.

Abaxis (NASDAQ:ABAX) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 25th. The medical research company reported $0.31 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.26 by $0.05. Abaxis had a net margin of 10.51% and a return on equity of 10.09%. The business had revenue of $59.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $59.37 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.30 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 13.1% on a year-over-year basis. analysts anticipate that Abaxis will post 1.16 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 1st were paid a dividend of $0.16 per share. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.93%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, February 28th. Abaxis’s payout ratio is 50.39%.

In other Abaxis news, Director Michael D. Casey sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $71.07, for a total transaction of $355,350.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 27,290 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,939,500.30. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Prithipal Singh sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.63, for a total transaction of $149,260.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 44,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,283,720. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 25,662 shares of company stock valued at $1,804,604 over the last three months. 4.30% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Aperio Group LLC lifted its stake in shares of Abaxis by 17.8% in the 4th quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 6,884 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $341,000 after acquiring an additional 1,038 shares during the period. Teachers Advisors LLC lifted its stake in shares of Abaxis by 2.5% in the 4th quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 43,798 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $2,169,000 after acquiring an additional 1,050 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Abaxis by 0.9% in the 3rd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 132,645 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $5,923,000 after acquiring an additional 1,225 shares during the period. Swiss National Bank lifted its stake in shares of Abaxis by 4.3% in the 4th quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 38,700 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $1,916,000 after acquiring an additional 1,600 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can lifted its stake in shares of Abaxis by 44.3% in the 4th quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 5,629 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $278,000 after acquiring an additional 1,727 shares during the period. 99.36% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About Abaxis

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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