West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (WST) Upgraded to Buy at Jefferies Group LLC

Jefferies Group LLC upgraded shares of West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE:WST) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Friday morning, Marketbeat Ratings reports. Jefferies Group LLC currently has $115.00 price objective on the medical instruments supplier’s stock, up from their previous price objective of $96.00. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for West Pharmaceutical Services’ Q2 2018 earnings at $0.81 EPS.

Several other equities research analysts have also recently commented on WST. BidaskClub cut West Pharmaceutical Services from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded West Pharmaceutical Services from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $114.00 price target for the company in a research note on Friday, June 9th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. West Pharmaceutical Services presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $98.52.

Shares of West Pharmaceutical Services (WST) opened at 96.75 on Friday. West Pharmaceutical Services has a 1-year low of $70.17 and a 1-year high of $99.91. The firm has a market cap of $7.16 billion, a PE ratio of 41.52 and a beta of 1.13. The company has a 50-day moving average of $87.62 and a 200-day moving average of $89.48.

West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE:WST) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The medical instruments supplier reported $0.66 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.65 by $0.01. West Pharmaceutical Services had a return on equity of 14.02% and a net margin of 11.42%. The business had revenue of $397.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $406.00 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.59 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that West Pharmaceutical Services will post $2.68 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 18th will be given a $0.14 dividend. This is a boost from West Pharmaceutical Services’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.13. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, October 17th. This represents a $0.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.58%. West Pharmaceutical Services’s dividend payout ratio is presently 22.22%.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WST. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in West Pharmaceutical Services by 8,884.7% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,805,036 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $473,749,000 after acquiring an additional 5,740,426 shares in the last quarter. Riverbridge Partners LLC purchased a new position in West Pharmaceutical Services in the second quarter worth $48,340,000. Koch Industries Inc. raised its position in West Pharmaceutical Services by 14,908.3% in the second quarter. Koch Industries Inc. now owns 413,028 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $409,000 after acquiring an additional 410,276 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in West Pharmaceutical Services by 6.5% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,440,844 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $525,637,000 after acquiring an additional 392,516 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its position in West Pharmaceutical Services by 7,670.7% in the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 318,600 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $30,114,000 after acquiring an additional 314,500 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 90.57% of the company’s stock.

West Pharmaceutical Services Company Profile

West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc is a manufacturer of packaging components and delivery systems for injectable drugs and healthcare products. The Company’s products include vial containment solutions, prefillable systems, self-injection platforms, cartridge systems and components, reconstitution and transfer systems, intradermal delivery solutions, specialty components, and contract manufacturing and analytical services.

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