Astec Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTE) was the recipient of a significant decline in short interest in the month of July. As of July 15th, there was short interest totalling 1,186,400 shares, a decline of 5.8% from the June 15th total of 1,259,900 shares. Approximately 5.3% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 175,400 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 6.8 days.

Several research analysts have recently commented on ASTE shares. ValuEngine upgraded Zimmer Biomet from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday. BidaskClub downgraded ZIX from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, June 7th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and five have assigned a hold rating to the company’s stock. Astec Industries presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $41.00.

In related news, insider Jaco Van Der Merwe acquired 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 8th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $32.75 per share, for a total transaction of $65,500.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the insider now owns 4,579 shares in the company, valued at $149,962.25. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. 1.80% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in ASTE. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio increased its holdings in Astec Industries by 18.0% during the 4th quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 1,949 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $59,000 after purchasing an additional 297 shares during the period. Quantamental Technologies LLC increased its holdings in Astec Industries by 40.6% during the 1st quarter. Quantamental Technologies LLC now owns 2,734 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $103,000 after purchasing an additional 790 shares during the period. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA increased its holdings in Astec Industries by 361.2% during the 1st quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 5,198 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $196,000 after purchasing an additional 4,071 shares during the period. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan purchased a new position in Astec Industries during the 4th quarter valued at about $199,000. Finally, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY increased its holdings in Astec Industries by 302.1% during the 4th quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY now owns 7,169 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $216,000 after purchasing an additional 5,386 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 92.74% of the company’s stock.

NASDAQ:ASTE traded up $0.57 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $33.15. 3,876 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 151,526. Astec Industries has a 12-month low of $27.86 and a 12-month high of $52.88. The firm has a market cap of $745.54 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.33 and a beta of 1.47. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.05, a current ratio of 3.21 and a quick ratio of 1.13. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $31.37.

Astec Industries (NASDAQ:ASTE) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 23rd. The industrial products company reported $0.36 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.41 by ($0.05). Astec Industries had a negative net margin of 0.20% and a positive return on equity of 7.07%. The business had revenue of $304.80 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $299.96 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.03 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 12.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, research analysts expect that Astec Industries will post 2.04 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 29th. Investors of record on Monday, August 12th will be issued a dividend of $0.11 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 9th. This represents a $0.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.33%. Astec Industries’s dividend payout ratio is presently 15.07%.

Astec Industries Company Profile

Astec Industries, Inc designs, engineers, manufactures, and markets equipment and components for the road building, aggregate processing, geothermal, water, oil and gas, and wood processing industries in the United States and internationally. The company's Infrastructure Group segment provides hot-mix asphalt plants, wood pellet plants, asphalt pavers, material transfer vehicles, soil stabilizing reclaiming machinery, milling machines, paver screeds, and related ancillary equipment.

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