Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of NetApp, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Thursday.

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 Dell-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.”

NTAP has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Credit Suisse Group increased their target price on NetApp from $37.00 to $40.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. Morgan Stanley reissued an underweight rating on shares of NetApp in a research note on Saturday, September 23rd. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $50.00 target price on NetApp and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Monday, August 14th. BidaskClub cut NetApp from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Saturday, June 17th. Finally, DA Davidson reissued a buy rating and issued a $51.00 target price on shares of NetApp in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-one have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $45.12.

Shares of NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) opened at 44.43 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $11.99 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.45 and a beta of 1.26. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $40.83 and its 200 day moving average price is $40.75. NetApp has a 12-month low of $30.36 and a 12-month high of $45.24.

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, August 16th. The data storage provider reported $0.62 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by $0.07. The business had revenue of $1.33 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.32 billion. NetApp had a return on equity of 24.13% and a net margin of 10.47%. The firm’s revenue was up 2.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.46 earnings per share. Equities research analysts forecast that NetApp will post $3.12 EPS for the current year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 25th. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 6th will be given a dividend of $0.20 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 5th. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.80%. NetApp’s payout ratio is 38.65%.

In other news, Director Richard P. Wallace sold 34,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.53, for a total transaction of $1,480,020.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 24,132 shares in the company, valued at $1,050,465.96. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Henri P. Richard sold 3,952 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.20, for a total transaction of $166,774.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 52,450 shares of company stock valued at $2,250,560. Company insiders own 0.47% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of NTAP. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of NetApp by 4.1% during the first quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 1,072,654 shares of the data storage provider’s stock worth $44,891,000 after purchasing an additional 42,544 shares during the period. Pacer Advisors Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of NetApp by 31.5% during the first quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 6,588 shares of the data storage provider’s stock worth $276,000 after purchasing an additional 1,578 shares during the period. M&T Bank Corp boosted its holdings in shares of NetApp by 12.0% during the first quarter. M&T Bank Corp now owns 14,053 shares of the data storage provider’s stock worth $588,000 after purchasing an additional 1,504 shares during the period. Blair William & Co. IL purchased a new stake in shares of NetApp during the first quarter worth about $216,000. Finally, Neuberger Berman Group LLC boosted its holdings in shares of NetApp by 10.5% during the first quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 8,143 shares of the data storage provider’s stock worth $341,000 after purchasing an additional 773 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 92.08% of the company’s stock.

About NetApp

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.

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