West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. (NYSE:WST) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “West Pharmaceutical Services applies technologies to the process of bringing new drug therapies and healthcare products. West’s technologies include the design and manufacture of packaging components for pharmaceutical, healthcare and consumer products; research and development of drug delivery systems; contract manufacturing and packaging services; clinical services; and contract laboratory services and other services that support the manufacturing, filling and packaging of pharmaceutical, healthcare and consumer products. “

A number of other analysts have also commented on WST. Jefferies Group lifted their target price on West Pharmaceutical Services from $67.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, July 29th. Janney Montgomery Scott reissued a “fair value” rating and issued a $72.55 target price (down previously from $90.00) on shares of West Pharmaceutical Services in a report on Monday, September 26th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co. lowered West Pharmaceutical Services from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Wednesday, September 21st.

Shares of West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE:WST) opened at 80.14 on Friday. West Pharmaceutical Services has a 1-year low of $53.88 and a 1-year high of $84.33. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $74.08 and its 200-day moving average price is $76.33. The company has a market capitalization of $5.86 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 43.34 and a beta of 0.95.

West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE:WST) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $0.53 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.53. West Pharmaceutical Services had a return on equity of 14.54% and a net margin of 9.27%. The company earned $376.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $371.76 million. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.44 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that West Pharmaceutical Services will post $2.20 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, November 2nd. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, October 19th were paid a $0.13 dividend. This is an increase from West Pharmaceutical Services’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.12. This represents a $0.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.65%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, October 17th. West Pharmaceutical Services’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 28.11%.

In other news, Director Paula A. Johnson sold 3,042 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.55, for a total value of $248,075.10. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 38,450 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,135,597.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Paula A. Johnson sold 2,466 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.87, for a total value of $187,095.42. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 5.13% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in West Pharmaceutical Services during the first quarter worth about $120,000. BlackRock Japan Co. Ltd purchased a new position in West Pharmaceutical Services during the second quarter worth about $151,000. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank increased its position in West Pharmaceutical Services by 14.0% in the third quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 2,287 shares of the company’s stock worth $170,000 after buying an additional 281 shares during the period. Seven Eight Capital LLC increased its position in West Pharmaceutical Services by 5,481.4% in the second quarter. Seven Eight Capital LLC now owns 2,400 shares of the company’s stock worth $182,000 after buying an additional 2,357 shares during the period. Finally, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in West Pharmaceutical Services during the second quarter worth about $205,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 91.40% of the company’s stock.

West Pharmaceutical Services Company Profile

West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc (West) is a manufacturer of components and systems for the packaging and delivery of injectable drugs, as well as delivery system components for the pharmaceutical, healthcare and consumer products industries. The Company’s segments include Pharmaceutical Packaging Systems segment (Packaging Systems) and the Pharmaceutical Delivery Systems segment (Delivery Systems).

5 Day Chart for NYSE:WST

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