Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Western Digital (WDC) to “Hold”

Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Western Digital is one of the largest HDD producers in the U.S. Strong demand for hard drive and NAND-based products across all categories of customers, is a key catalysts.Further, robust adoption of NVMe client SSDs, iNAND solutions and new design wins remain other positives. Western Digital is also significantly benefiting from synergies related to SanDisk and HGST acquisitions. The company’s strength in BiCS3 and BiCS4 offerings deserve a special mention. We believe that new enhancements to its data center storage portfolio and other product rollouts add to the positives. However, the company intends to temporarily reduce flash output. Further, sluggishness in client compute hard drives demand and weakness flash storage market remains a headwind. Moreover, stiff competition from peers with pricing pressure adds to woes. Shares of the company have underperformed the industry over the past one year.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on WDC. Royal Bank of Canada lifted their price objective on shares of Western Digital to $46.00 and gave the stock a “sector perform” rating in a report on Friday, January 25th. Cowen reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and issued a $50.00 price objective (down previously from $60.00) on shares of Western Digital in a report on Thursday, December 6th. ValuEngine raised shares of Western Digital from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 30th. Susquehanna Bancshares reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $44.00 price objective (down previously from $120.00) on shares of Western Digital in a report on Tuesday, November 20th. Finally, Benchmark reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Western Digital in a report on Friday, March 1st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $67.79.

Shares of WDC stock traded down $0.92 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $46.96. 250,106 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 6,713,983. Western Digital has a fifty-two week low of $33.83 and a fifty-two week high of $104.60. The company has a current ratio of 2.24, a quick ratio of 1.45 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.95. The company has a market capitalization of $14.05 billion, a P/E ratio of 3.49, a PEG ratio of 0.54 and a beta of 1.49.

Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 24th. The data storage provider reported $1.45 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.27 by $0.18. Western Digital had a net margin of 4.34% and a return on equity of 28.88%. The business had revenue of $4.23 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.26 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $3.95 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 20.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, research analysts predict that Western Digital will post 4.7 EPS for the current year.

In other Western Digital news, insider Mark P. Long sold 17,623 shares of Western Digital stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total transaction of $881,150.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 158,744 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,937,200. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Company insiders own 0.36% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in WDC. Private Advisor Group LLC grew its stake in shares of Western Digital by 26.4% in the 3rd quarter. Private Advisor Group LLC now owns 7,734 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $453,000 after buying an additional 1,617 shares in the last quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC grew its stake in shares of Western Digital by 52.1% in the 3rd quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC now owns 36,266 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $2,123,000 after buying an additional 12,419 shares in the last quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. lifted its holdings in Western Digital by 25.3% in the 3rd quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 5,394 shares of the data storage provider’s stock worth $315,000 after purchasing an additional 1,088 shares during the last quarter. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. lifted its holdings in Western Digital by 210.5% in the 3rd quarter. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. now owns 5,160 shares of the data storage provider’s stock worth $302,000 after purchasing an additional 3,498 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Norinchukin Bank The lifted its holdings in Western Digital by 10.6% in the 3rd quarter. Norinchukin Bank The now owns 38,694 shares of the data storage provider’s stock worth $2,265,000 after purchasing an additional 3,709 shares during the last quarter. 84.47% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Western Digital Company Profile

Western Digital Corporation develops, manufactures, and sells data storage devices and solutions worldwide. It offers client devices, including hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid state drives (SSDs) for computing devices, such as desktop and notebook PCs, security surveillance systems, gaming consoles, and set top boxes; flash-based embedded storage products for mobile phones, tablets, notebook PCs, and other portable and wearable devices, as well as automotive, IoT, industrial, and connected home applications; flash-based memory wafers; and embedded storage solutions and iNAND embedded flash products, such as multi-chip package solutions.

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