Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE:ROK) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Tuesday morning. The firm currently has $184.00 price target on the industrial products company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Rockwell Automation projects fiscal 2017 sales growth in the range of 4.5–7.5% and expects adjusted EPS in the range of $6.45–$6.75 per share. It remains optimistic about improvement in macro environment. Compared with earnings per share of $5.93 in fiscal 2016, the mid-point of the range depicts a year-over-year climb of 11%. Rockwell Automation will benefit from the consistent growth in the consumer and transportation verticals. It also expects heavy industries to grow in 2017 despite the prevailing softness in oil and gas and mining. Further, increased investment, acquisitions, product launches and share repurchases will support growth. Further, the company has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Rockwell Automation's shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized sub-industry year-to-date.”

A number of other research firms also recently weighed in on ROK. Wolfe Research began coverage on shares of Rockwell Automation in a research report on Tuesday. They issued a peer perform rating for the company. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Rockwell Automation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Saturday. Cowen and Company lifted their price target on shares of Rockwell Automation from $125.00 to $140.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research report on Thursday, July 6th. Barclays PLC set a $176.00 price target on shares of Rockwell Automation and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 26th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reiterated a hold rating and issued a $155.00 price target on shares of Rockwell Automation in a research report on Thursday, April 27th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Rockwell Automation presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $143.86.

Rockwell Automation (NYSE ROK) traded up 0.96% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $165.73. The stock had a trading volume of 535,568 shares. Rockwell Automation has a 1-year low of $111.52 and a 1-year high of $166.03. The company has a market cap of $21.35 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.66 and a beta of 1.17. The company’s 50 day moving average is $159.63 and its 200 day moving average is $151.73.

Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 26th. The industrial products company reported $1.55 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.40 by $0.15. Rockwell Automation had a net margin of 12.88% and a return on equity of 39.71%. The company had revenue of $1.55 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.48 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.37 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Rockwell Automation will post $6.66 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 11th. Investors of record on Monday, August 14th will be paid a $0.76 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 10th. This represents a $3.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.83%. Rockwell Automation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 50.75%.

In other Rockwell Automation news, Director Betty C. Alewine sold 7,173 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, April 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $158.52, for a total transaction of $1,137,063.96. Following the sale, the director now owns 20,584 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,262,975.68. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Kenneth M. Champa sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $159.08, for a total transaction of $795,400.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 8,169 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,299,524.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 129,605 shares of company stock worth $20,469,855 over the last three months. 1.65% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. FMR LLC boosted its stake in Rockwell Automation by 334.6% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 403,863 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $54,279,000 after buying an additional 310,928 shares during the last quarter. Bank of America Corp DE boosted its stake in Rockwell Automation by 27.0% in the first quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 1,037,845 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $161,602,000 after buying an additional 220,675 shares during the last quarter. Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services LLC bought a new stake in Rockwell Automation during the first quarter worth $1,315,000. Suntrust Banks Inc. boosted its stake in Rockwell Automation by 3.1% in the first quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 7,127 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $1,108,000 after buying an additional 216 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Columbia Partners L L C Investment Management boosted its stake in Rockwell Automation by 11.8% in the first quarter. Columbia Partners L L C Investment Management now owns 8,632 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $1,344,000 after buying an additional 912 shares during the last quarter. 73.93% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation, Inc (Rockwell Automation) is a provider of industrial automation power, control and information solutions for manufacturers. The Company operates through two segments: Architecture & Software and Control Products & Solutions. The Architecture & Software segment contains various hardware, software and communication components of the Company’s integrated control and information architecture capable of controlling the customer’s industrial processes and connecting with their manufacturing enterprise.

Analyst Recommendations for Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK)

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