NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has a $76.00 target price on the data storage provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target suggests a potential upside of 9.57% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “NetApp is a provider of enterprise storage and data management software and hardware products and services. The company’s expertise in the flash array market is increasing its prominence in the storage area network (SAN) and converged infrastructure markets. The company’s newly launched hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is also expected to be a positive for the top-line growth in the long run. We believe NetApp is well positioned to enjoy steady growth driven by its diversified portfolio and strong distribution channels. These will drive demand for the company's products going forward. Estimates have been going up ahead of the company’s Q4 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Shares of the company have outperformed the industry in the past one year. However, intensifying competition from bellwethers such as HP Inc., Dell, IBM and Oracle is a major headwind.”

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NTAP has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Morgan Stanley raised shares of NetApp from an “underweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and lifted their price target for the company from $41.00 to $64.00 in a research report on Tuesday, January 23rd. DA Davidson raised shares of NetApp from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $66.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Thursday, February 15th. BMO Capital Markets lifted their price target on shares of NetApp from $63.00 to $73.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday, April 6th. Pivotal Research raised shares of NetApp from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price target for the company from $62.00 to $72.00 in a research report on Wednesday, April 4th. Finally, Bank of America raised shares of NetApp from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 13th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and twenty have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $60.30.

NTAP traded up $1.09 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $69.36. 1,048,065 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 3,207,758. The firm has a market cap of $18,076.74, a PE ratio of 33.04, a PEG ratio of 2.24 and a beta of 1.27. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.71, a quick ratio of 1.88 and a current ratio of 1.91. NetApp has a one year low of $37.43 and a one year high of $69.59.

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 14th. The data storage provider reported $0.99 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.08. NetApp had a negative net margin of 0.09% and a positive return on equity of 29.38%. The firm had revenue of $1.52 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.49 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.82 earnings per share. sell-side analysts anticipate that NetApp will post 2.92 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, EVP Henri P. Richard sold 4,900 shares of NetApp stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, April 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.00, for a total value of $323,400.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 6,984 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $460,944. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Joel D. Reich sold 11,641 shares of NetApp stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.02, for a total value of $698,692.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 41,427 shares of company stock valued at $2,543,687 over the last ninety days. 0.47% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Boston Partners raised its holdings in shares of NetApp by 68.1% in the fourth quarter. Boston Partners now owns 12,127,140 shares of the data storage provider’s stock valued at $670,873,000 after buying an additional 4,914,409 shares during the last quarter. Investec Asset Management LTD bought a new stake in NetApp during the 4th quarter worth about $290,829,000. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its holdings in NetApp by 6.4% during the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 4,322,669 shares of the data storage provider’s stock worth $239,131,000 after purchasing an additional 260,763 shares during the last quarter. ANTIPODES PARTNERS Ltd raised its holdings in NetApp by 7.1% during the 4th quarter. ANTIPODES PARTNERS Ltd now owns 1,555,383 shares of the data storage provider’s stock worth $86,044,000 after purchasing an additional 102,872 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its holdings in NetApp by 1.0% during the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,422,047 shares of the data storage provider’s stock worth $62,230,000 after purchasing an additional 13,531 shares during the last quarter. 95.00% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About NetApp

NetApp, Inc provides software, systems, and services to manage and store computer data worldwide. It offers flash; flash arrays that support data management; hybrid arrays to deploy the speed of flash storage; hybrid cloud; ONTAP cloud storage data management service; NetApp cloud sync hybrid data management Software as a Service; NetApp private storage for cloud; and AltaVault cloud-integrated solutions.

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