Abaxis (ABAX) Raised to Strong-Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Abaxis (NASDAQ:ABAX) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report released on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $79.00 price target on the medical research company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Over the past three months, Abaxis has been outperforming the broader industry. The company witnessing solid consumable and instrument sales growth along with strength in the Medical and Veterinary market segments buoys optimism. With regard to the company’s recent implementation of new sales and marketing strategies, Abaxis has received approval from USDA, Center for Veterinary Biologics, for VetScan FLEX4 Rapid Test. Abaxis plans additional launches in fiscal 2018, including the urine sediment analyzer. According to the company, these products will drive growth over the long haul. However, rising expenses along with weak gross and operating margin scenario pose concerns for the company of late. Challenges like competitive bidding continue to hurt the stock. This apart, valuation remains stretched.”

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Several other brokerages also recently commented on ABAX. ValuEngine raised Abaxis from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Monday. Stifel Nicolaus lifted their target price on Abaxis from $48.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Friday, January 26th. BidaskClub downgraded Abaxis from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, December 12th. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $55.00 target price on shares of Abaxis in a report on Tuesday, January 16th. Finally, Bank of America lifted their target price on Abaxis from $46.00 to $48.00 and gave the stock a sell rating in a report on Thursday, February 8th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating, two have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $61.10.

NASDAQ ABAX opened at $70.91 on Tuesday. Abaxis has a twelve month low of $43.66 and a twelve month high of $78.53. The firm has a market cap of $1,592.72, a P/E ratio of 57.99, a PEG ratio of 9.53 and a beta of 1.16.

Abaxis (NASDAQ:ABAX) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 25th. The medical research company reported $0.31 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.26 by $0.05. Abaxis had a return on equity of 10.09% and a net margin of 10.51%. The company had revenue of $59.70 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $59.37 million. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.30 EPS. Abaxis’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.1% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts forecast that Abaxis will post 1.16 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 1st were paid a $0.16 dividend. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.90%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, February 28th. Abaxis’s dividend payout ratio is 50.39%.

In other news, COO Donald Peter Wood sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $68.99, for a total value of $689,900.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Prithipal Singh sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.63, for a total value of $149,260.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 44,000 shares in the company, valued at $3,283,720. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 25,662 shares of company stock worth $1,804,604 over the last three months. 4.30% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. We Are One Seven LLC acquired a new position in shares of Abaxis in the 4th quarter valued at about $108,000. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Abaxis in the 4th quarter valued at about $552,000. Gotham Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Abaxis in the 4th quarter valued at about $203,000. PEAK6 Investments L.P. acquired a new position in shares of Abaxis in the 4th quarter valued at about $202,000. Finally, Teachers Advisors LLC lifted its stake in shares of Abaxis by 2.5% in the 4th quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 43,798 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $2,169,000 after purchasing an additional 1,050 shares during the period. 99.36% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About Abaxis

Abaxis, Inc is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of portable blood analysis systems that are used in medical specialties in human or veterinary patient care to provide clinicians with blood constituent measurements. The Company markets and sells its products around the world through independent distributors and direct sales force.

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