Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of NetApp, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Wednesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $49.00 price target on the data storage provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “NetApp's better-than-expected first-quarter 2018 results benefited from continuous product refreshes and growing portfolio based on SolidFire acquisition. Extended partnership with Microsoft also looks beneficial for the company. The company is also winning customers previously served by competitors like HP and EMC. Meanwhile, cost reduction initiatives will facilitate margin expansion over the long run. Notably, the company has outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis. However, intensifying competition in the flash segment is a major headwind.”

A number of other brokerages have also weighed in on NTAP. Citigroup Inc. upped their target price on NetApp from $41.00 to $43.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research report on Thursday, August 17th. Susquehanna Bancshares Inc reaffirmed a positive rating and set a $50.00 target price (up from $48.00) on shares of NetApp in a research report on Wednesday, August 16th. Raymond James Financial, Inc. reaffirmed a market perform rating on shares of NetApp in a research report on Sunday, August 20th. Loop Capital initiated coverage on NetApp in a research report on Thursday, August 24th. They set a hold rating and a $41.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $45.00 target price on shares of NetApp in a research report on Friday, June 9th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-one have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. NetApp has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $45.12.

Shares of NetApp (NASDAQ NTAP) traded up 0.34% during trading on Wednesday, hitting $44.41. 2,010,483 shares of the stock traded hands. NetApp has a 52 week low of $30.36 and a 52 week high of $45.24. The company has a 50-day moving average of $40.63 and a 200-day moving average of $40.70. The firm has a market cap of $11.98 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.44 and a beta of 1.26.

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, August 16th. The data storage provider reported $0.62 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.55 by $0.07. NetApp had a return on equity of 24.13% and a net margin of 10.47%. The company had revenue of $1.33 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.32 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.46 earnings per share. NetApp’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that NetApp will post $3.13 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 25th. Investors of record on Friday, October 6th will be issued a dividend of $0.20 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 5th. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.80%. NetApp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 38.65%.

In other NetApp news, Director Richard P. Wallace sold 34,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.53, for a total value of $1,480,020.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 24,132 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,050,465.96. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Henri P. Richard sold 1,976 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.41, for a total value of $85,778.16. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 19,788 shares in the company, valued at approximately $858,997.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 52,450 shares of company stock worth $2,250,560 in the last three months. 0.47% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NTAP. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in shares of NetApp by 1,529.1% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 20,130,070 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $842,443,000 after acquiring an additional 18,894,401 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its holdings in shares of NetApp by 781.1% in the 2nd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 3,339,574 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $133,750,000 after acquiring an additional 2,960,542 shares in the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its holdings in shares of NetApp by 6,495.7% in the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 2,312,525 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $92,617,000 after acquiring an additional 2,277,464 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its holdings in shares of NetApp by 89.2% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 3,044,302 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $121,924,000 after acquiring an additional 1,435,588 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Lord Abbett & CO. LLC raised its holdings in shares of NetApp by 550.9% in the 2nd quarter. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC now owns 1,584,303 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $63,451,000 after acquiring an additional 1,340,903 shares in the last quarter. 92.08% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

NetApp Company Profile

NetApp, Inc (NetApp) provides software, systems and services to manage and store customer data. The Company enables enterprises, service providers, governmental organizations, and partners to envision, deploy and evolve their information technology (IT) environments. The Company offers a portfolio of products and services that satisfy a range of customer workloads across different data types and deployment models.

Analyst Recommendations for NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP)

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