The Zoetis Inc. (ZTS) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Sell”

The Zoetis Inc. (ZTS) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Sell”

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Zoetis Inc. (NYSE:ZTS) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Performance of Zoetis’ livestock business has been disappointing. Other headwinds include disease outbreaks and stiff competition in the animal health space. While disease outbreak among animals is a material cause of concern for Zoetis’ livestock products, the company continued to witness a decline in the U.S. sales of swine products in the third quarter of 2016 due to increased competition. Competitive pressures could adversely affect the company’s growth prospects. Pipeline setbacks are another major concern. Particularly, development and regulatory setbacks for late-stage pipeline candidates would be a major disappointment for the company. However, Zoetis’ companion animal business should continue to perform well. Further, its efforts on boosting operational efficiency bode well. Shares of Zoetis have outperformed the industry in the past one year. Estimates have been stable ahead of the company's Q4 results.”

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Deutsche Bank AG initiated coverage on Zoetis in a report on Tuesday, December 20th. They issued a buy rating and a $62.00 target price on the stock. Jefferies Group reissued a buy rating and issued a $62.00 target price on shares of Zoetis in a report on Tuesday, December 20th. Guggenheim reissued a buy rating and issued a $60.00 target price on shares of Zoetis in a report on Friday, December 23rd. Stifel Nicolaus reissued a buy rating and issued a $58.00 target price on shares of Zoetis in a report on Wednesday, October 12th. Finally, Bank of America Corporation initiated coverage on Zoetis in a report on Thursday, September 29th. They issued a buy rating and a $60.00 target price on the stock. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $57.53.

Shares of Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS) traded up 0.245% during trading on Tuesday, hitting $53.245. The company had a trading volume of 2,118,747 shares. The stock has a market cap of $26.29 billion, a PE ratio of 38.389 and a beta of 1.07. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $52.39 and a 200 day moving average of $50.97. Zoetis has a 12-month low of $38.26 and a 12-month high of $54.72.

Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 2nd. The company reported $0.52 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.46 by $0.06. The company had revenue of $1.20 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.22 billion. Zoetis had a return on equity of 72.96% and a net margin of 14.10%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.50 earnings per share. On average, analysts forecast that Zoetis will post $1.94 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 1st. Investors of record on Friday, January 20th will be given a $0.105 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, January 18th. This represents a $0.42 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.79%. This is a boost from Zoetis’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10. Zoetis’s dividend payout ratio is currently 27.54%.

In other Zoetis news, insider Kristin C. Peck sold 10,092 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.55, for a total transaction of $500,058.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 22,768 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,128,154.40. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Roxanne Lagano sold 9,797 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.43, for a total value of $494,062.71. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 8,063 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $406,617.09. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA boosted its position in Zoetis by 114.1% in the second quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 8,738,248 shares of the company’s stock worth $414,717,000 after buying an additional 4,656,765 shares during the period. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD boosted its position in Zoetis by 12.3% in the third quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 34,863,382 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,813,244,000 after buying an additional 3,806,515 shares during the period. Alliancebernstein L.P. boosted its position in Zoetis by 49.9% in the second quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 7,634,826 shares of the company’s stock worth $362,349,000 after buying an additional 2,542,023 shares during the period. First Eagle Investment Management LLC boosted its position in Zoetis by 87.8% in the third quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC now owns 3,893,085 shares of the company’s stock worth $202,479,000 after buying an additional 1,819,607 shares during the period. Finally, Marsico Capital Management LLC boosted its position in Zoetis by 321.7% in the second quarter. Marsico Capital Management LLC now owns 2,106,745 shares of the company’s stock worth $99,986,000 after buying an additional 1,607,218 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 92.44% of the company’s stock.

About Zoetis

Zoetis Inc is engaged in the discovery, development, manufacture and commercialization of animal health medicines and vaccines, with a focus on both livestock and companion animals. The Company has a diversified business, marketing products across over eight core species: cattle, swine, poultry, sheep and fish (collectively, livestock), and dogs, cats and horses (collectively, companion animals), and within over five product categories: anti-infectives, vaccines, parasiticides, medicated feed additives and other pharmaceuticals.

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