NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP)’s share price gapped up prior to trading on Tuesday after Zacks Investment Research upgraded the stock from a hold rating to a buy rating. The stock had previously closed at $55.87, but opened at $57.73. Zacks Investment Research now has a $65.00 price target on the stock. NetApp shares last traded at $58.74, with a volume of 3903120 shares changing hands.

According to Zacks, “NetApp is a provider of enterprise storage and data management software and hardware products and services. The company’s expertise in the flash array market is increasing its prominence in the storage area network (SAN) and converged infrastructure markets. Shares of the company have outperformed the industry in the past one year. The company’s newly launched hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is also expected to be a positive for the top-line growth in the long run. We believe NetApp is well positioned to enjoy steady growth driven by its diversified portfolio and strong distribution channels. These will drive demand for the company's products going forward. However, the company has been experiencing declining OEM revenues since two straight fiscals. Moreover, intensifying competition from bellwethers such as HP Inc., Dell, IBM and Oracle is a major headwind.”

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. DA Davidson raised their price objective on NetApp from $53.00 to $56.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, November 14th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $52.00 price objective on NetApp and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, November 14th. Maxim Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $56.00 price objective on shares of NetApp in a report on Friday, October 27th. Lake Street Capital restated a “buy” rating and issued a $54.00 price objective (up previously from $49.00) on shares of NetApp in a report on Thursday, November 16th. Finally, UBS Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $52.00 price objective (up previously from $45.00) on shares of NetApp in a report on Thursday, November 16th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $53.85.

In other NetApp news, EVP Henri P. Richard sold 1,976 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.91, for a total transaction of $110,478.16. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 11,884 shares in the company, valued at $664,434.44. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP Joel D. Reich sold 3,371 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.17, for a total transaction of $179,236.07. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 176,629 shares of company stock valued at $9,568,956 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.47% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of NTAP. Boston Partners acquired a new stake in NetApp during the third quarter worth approximately $315,629,000. Investec Asset Management LTD acquired a new stake in shares of NetApp in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $290,829,000. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC raised its position in shares of NetApp by 550.9% in the second quarter. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC now owns 1,584,303 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $63,451,000 after buying an additional 1,340,903 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its position in shares of NetApp by 25.2% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 4,061,906 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $177,748,000 after buying an additional 817,147 shares in the last quarter. Finally, APG Asset Management N.V. raised its position in shares of NetApp by 22.9% in the third quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 3,046,414 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $133,311,000 after buying an additional 567,300 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 96.67% of the company’s stock.

The company has a current ratio of 1.67, a quick ratio of 1.64 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.55. The stock has a market capitalization of $14,985.70, a PE ratio of 24.78, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.79 and a beta of 1.32.

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 15th. The data storage provider reported $0.81 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.69 by $0.12. NetApp had a net margin of 11.49% and a return on equity of 26.77%. The company had revenue of $1.42 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.38 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.60 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 6.1% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts anticipate that NetApp Inc. will post 2.76 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 24th. Stockholders of record on Friday, January 5th were given a $0.20 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, January 4th. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.36%. NetApp’s payout ratio is 34.33%.

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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.

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