Wells Fargo & Co. Lowers Actuant Corp. (ATU) to Market Perform

Wells Fargo & Co. downgraded shares of Actuant Corp. (NYSE:ATU) from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research note released on Friday.

“Reaching this goal is contingent on bolt-on acquisitions, core growth above the market, and end market support. Core growth above the market is our primary concern,” senior analyst Allison Poliniak-Cusic wrote in a note.Related Link: Wells Fargo Downgrades Actuant To Market PerformDespite acknowledging Actuant’s good fundamentals, Poliniak-Cusic said the company’s investment in organic growth will take time to show meaningful progress amid significant end-market headwinds. The company’s end markets include oil and gas (mainly offshore), agriculture and industrial.Further, the tepid end-markets could also delay results of the company’s efforts to drive long-term revenue growth via expansions in product and service, end market, geographic penetration and increased channel effectiveness.”Therefore, we are moving to the sidelines and could become more constructive on the name should we see sustained progress in regards to the company’s 5-year plan, all else equal,” Poliniak-Cusic continued.It’s Not All NegativeThe analyst is also encouraged by CEO Randal Baker’s greater emphasis on operational excellence to achieve 100bps of annual margin improvement target, which implies a return to mid-teens EBIT percent.Poliniak-Cusic noted that the company is well poised for a potential recovery in macro-environment, driven by new products, greater penetration and operating leverage.The analyst, who has a valuation range of $26-$28, noted that management needs to regain investor confidence on the M&A front due to its past missteps.”An assembler (hence low capital user), ATU is a superb cash flow generator, in our opinion, that uses its cash to deleverage and acquire ‘good fit, low risk’ bolt-ons,,” Wells Fargo & Co.’s analyst wrote.

ATU has been the subject of several other research reports. Royal Bank Of Canada lowered their target price on shares of Actuant Corp. from $30.00 to $27.00 and set an outperform rating for the company in a report on Thursday, June 23rd. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Actuant Corp. from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, September 2nd. BMO Capital Markets restated a hold rating and issued a $22.00 target price on shares of Actuant Corp. in a report on Saturday, October 1st. TheStreet cut shares of Actuant Corp. from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Wednesday, September 28th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut shares of Actuant Corp. from a neutral rating to an underweight rating and lowered their target price for the company from $25.00 to $20.00 in a report on Wednesday, June 22nd. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $23.67.

Analyst Recommendations for Actuant Corp. (NYSE:ATU)

Shares of Actuant Corp. (NYSE:ATU) opened at 22.58 on Friday. Actuant Corp. has a 52-week low of $20.49 and a 52-week high of $27.71. The firm’s market cap is $1.33 billion. The company’s 50-day moving average is $23.11 and its 200 day moving average is $24.49.

Actuant Corp. (NYSE:ATU) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, September 28th. The company reported $0.30 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.29 by $0.01. Actuant Corp. had a negative net margin of 9.15% and a positive return on equity of 13.22%. The business earned $275.77 million during the quarter. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.37 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 8.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Actuant Corp. will post ($0.01) earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 14th. Investors of record on Friday, September 30th will be given a $0.04 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, September 28th. This represents a $0.16 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.71%. Actuant Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is -2.23%.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Actuant Corp. by 142.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,666 shares of the company’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 2,744 shares during the period. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Actuant Corp. during the second quarter valued at approximately $122,000. PineBridge Investments L.P. increased its stake in Actuant Corp. by 3.7% in the second quarter. PineBridge Investments L.P. now owns 7,467 shares of the company’s stock valued at $168,000 after buying an additional 269 shares during the period. Teacher Retirement System of Texas increased its stake in Actuant Corp. by 18.4% in the second quarter. Teacher Retirement System of Texas now owns 8,243 shares of the company’s stock valued at $186,000 after buying an additional 1,283 shares during the period. Finally, Raymond James Trust N.A. acquired a new stake in Actuant Corp. during the third quarter valued at approximately $204,000.

Actuant Corp. Company Profile

Actuant Corporation designs, manufactures and distributes a range of industrial products and systems to various end markets. The Company operates through three segments: Industrial, Energy and Engineered Solutions. The Company’s Industrial segment is primarily involved in the design, manufacture and distribution of branded hydraulic and mechanical tools to the maintenance, industrial, infrastructure and production automation markets.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:ATU

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