Investors Buy Waters (WAT) on Weakness

Investors purchased shares of Waters Co. (NYSE:WAT) on weakness during trading on Thursday. $146.03 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $101.25 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $44.78 million into the stock. Of all equities tracked, Waters had the 10th highest net in-flow for the day. Waters traded down ($9.48) for the day and closed at $200.27

A number of brokerages recently issued reports on WAT. Cleveland Research lowered shares of Waters from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating in a report on Thursday. Jefferies Financial Group reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $200.00 price objective on shares of Waters in a report on Wednesday, April 25th. TheStreet raised shares of Waters from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 24th. Robert W. Baird lowered their target price on shares of Waters from $220.00 to $201.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, April 25th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Waters from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $219.00 target price for the company in a research note on Saturday, April 7th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $207.31.

The stock has a market capitalization of $16.19 billion, a PE ratio of 26.74, a PEG ratio of 2.41 and a beta of 0.94. The company has a current ratio of 6.44, a quick ratio of 5.87 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.59.

Waters (NYSE:WAT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 24th. The medical instruments supplier reported $1.59 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.55 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $530.70 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $534.17 million. Waters had a net margin of 1.14% and a return on equity of 25.80%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 6.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.46 earnings per share. research analysts anticipate that Waters Co. will post 8.21 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Waters announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, April 24th that allows the company to buyback $3.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the medical instruments supplier to buy up to 18.2% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, Director Joann A. Reed sold 2,090 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $195.77, for a total value of $409,159.30. Following the sale, the director now owns 17,932 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,510,547.64. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Michael C. Harrington sold 16,078 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $194.67, for a total transaction of $3,129,904.26. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 18,115 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,526,447.05. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 36,689 shares of company stock worth $7,130,365 in the last three months. Corporate insiders own 0.98% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of WAT. Sensato Investors LLC acquired a new stake in Waters during the fourth quarter worth approximately $16,846,000. Bailard Inc. grew its position in shares of Waters by 27.3% during the fourth quarter. Bailard Inc. now owns 3,983 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $769,000 after acquiring an additional 853 shares during the last quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd grew its position in shares of Waters by 1.6% during the fourth quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd now owns 32,494 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $6,278,000 after acquiring an additional 500 shares during the last quarter. MANA Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Waters during the fourth quarter worth approximately $493,000. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System grew its position in Waters by 2.7% in the 4th quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 213,631 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $41,271,000 after buying an additional 5,663 shares during the last quarter. 92.21% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Waters

Waters Corporation, a specialty measurement company, provides analytical workflow solutions in the United States, Europe, Asia, and internationally. It designs, manufactures, sells, and services high and ultra performance liquid chromatography technology, as well as mass spectrometry (MS) technology systems and support products, including chromatography columns, other consumable products, and post-warranty service plans.

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