Woodward Inc. (NASDAQ:WWD) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday. The firm presently has a $67.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s target price indicates a potential upside of 11.52% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Woodward is steadily becoming a major supplier of aircraft, gas turbines and heavy-duty engines. The company also stands to benefit from increased global usage of natural gas as a source of electricity and transportation fuel. Woodward has also been recently witnessing strong backlog in the commercial aerospace space due to rising demand for fuel-efficient aircraft and increasing passenger miles. That said, Woodward's dependence on government defense budgets, stiff competition from a number of major players in the U.S. and abroad, persistent market weakness and sluggish growth in China are major concerns for the company.”

Several other research analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Maxim Group upped their target price on shares of Woodward from $60.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, July 15th. Jefferies Group set a $59.00 target price on shares of Woodward and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 20th. Finally, Barrington Research initiated coverage on shares of Woodward in a report on Friday. They issued a “market perform” rating for the company. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $60.25.

Shares of Woodward (NASDAQ:WWD) traded up 1.00% on Tuesday, hitting $60.68. The stock had a trading volume of 51,463 shares. Woodward has a 12 month low of $39.68 and a 12 month high of $63.98. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $60.76 and a 200-day moving average price of $56.60. The stock has a market cap of $3.73 billion, a PE ratio of 23.12 and a beta of 1.33.

Woodward (NASDAQ:WWD) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $0.81 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.76 by $0.05. The company earned $508 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $521.70 million. Woodward had a net margin of 8.40% and a return on equity of 15.53%. Woodward’s quarterly revenue was up 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.66 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Woodward will post $2.77 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 28th. Shareholders of record on Monday, November 14th will be paid a $0.11 dividend. This represents a $0.44 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.73%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 9th. Woodward’s payout ratio is currently 16.73%.

In other news, Director Mary L. Petrovich sold 8,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.54, for a total transaction of $480,028.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, VP Christopher Fawzy sold 6,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $59.30, for a total transaction of $355,800.00. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 9,506 shares in the company, valued at $563,705.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 6.18% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in WWD. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Woodward by 2.9% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 394,102 shares of the company’s stock valued at $20,501,000 after buying an additional 11,282 shares in the last quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Woodward by 4.1% in the first quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 404,597 shares of the company’s stock valued at $21,047,000 after buying an additional 15,910 shares in the last quarter. Palisade Capital Management LLC NJ boosted its stake in shares of Woodward by 38.5% in the first quarter. Palisade Capital Management LLC NJ now owns 390,584 shares of the company’s stock valued at $20,318,000 after buying an additional 108,662 shares in the last quarter. NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V. acquired a new stake in shares of Woodward during the first quarter valued at about $973,000. Finally, BlackRock Group LTD boosted its stake in shares of Woodward by 25.1% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 36,227 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,884,000 after buying an additional 7,278 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.55% of the company’s stock.

Woodward Company Profile

Woodward, Inc is a designer, manufacturer, and service provider of energy controls and optimization solutions. The Company has production and assembly facilities in the United States, Europe and Asia, and promotes its products and services through its worldwide locations. The Company’s is engaged in providing energy control and optimization solutions for the aerospace and energy markets.

5 Day Chart for NASDAQ:WWD

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