Zacks Investment Research Lowers West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE:WST) to Hold

West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE:WST) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday, July 4th.

According to Zacks, “West Pharmaceutical Services applies technologies to the process of bringing new drug therapies and healthcare products. West’s technologies include the design and manufacture of packaging components for pharmaceutical, healthcare and consumer products; research and development of drug delivery systems; contract manufacturing and packaging services; clinical services; and contract laboratory services and other services that support the manufacturing, filling and packaging of pharmaceutical, healthcare and consumer products. “

Several other brokerages have also commented on WST. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $90.00 price target (up previously from $82.00) on shares of West Pharmaceutical Services in a research report on Friday, April 28th. BidaskClub lowered shares of West Pharmaceutical Services from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 13th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. West Pharmaceutical Services has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $90.18.

West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE:WST) traded down 2.94% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $89.55. 790,582 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a market capitalization of $6.59 billion, a PE ratio of 38.43 and a beta of 1.12. West Pharmaceutical Services has a 52-week low of $70.17 and a 52-week high of $99.91. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $94.78 and a 200 day moving average of $88.69.

West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE:WST) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The medical instruments supplier reported $0.66 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.65 by $0.01. West Pharmaceutical Services had a net margin of 11.42% and a return on equity of 14.33%. The firm had revenue of $397.60 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $406 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.59 earnings per share. West Pharmaceutical Services’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that West Pharmaceutical Services will post $2.73 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, VP Daniel Malone sold 4,124 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $93.31, for a total value of $384,810.44. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CFO William J. Federici sold 54,996 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, May 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $95.45, for a total transaction of $5,249,368.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.90% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WST. Russell Investments Group Ltd. acquired a new stake in West Pharmaceutical Services during the fourth quarter valued at about $308,000. Royce & Associates LP purchased a new stake in West Pharmaceutical Services during the fourth quarter worth $1,951,000. Asset Management One Co. Ltd. purchased a new stake in West Pharmaceutical Services during the fourth quarter worth $164,000. Credit Agricole S A raised its stake in West Pharmaceutical Services by 3.8% in the fourth quarter. Credit Agricole S A now owns 39,145 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $3,321,000 after buying an additional 1,422 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. raised its stake in West Pharmaceutical Services by 7.7% in the fourth quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 2,945 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $250,000 after buying an additional 210 shares during the last quarter. 91.34% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About West Pharmaceutical Services

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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