Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Watsco (WSO) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Watsco (NYSE:WSO) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Watsco have underperformed its industry in the past three months. Earnings estimates for 2019 and 2020 have been trending downward over the past 30 days, depicting concerns over the company's bottom-line growth potential. Digitization of business and incremental technology spending substantially increased its SG&A over the past few years. Also, fluctuations in sales due to seasonal demand of residential air conditioners and heating equipment hurt its profitability significantly. Nevertheless, it is poised to benefit from strong unit demand, higher pricing and sales mix. The company’s Sunbelt market has been a growth catalyst in the installed base of HVAC systems.”

Watsco stock opened at $151.33 on Friday. Watsco has a 1-year low of $131.88 and a 1-year high of $192.94. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.08, a current ratio of 4.03 and a quick ratio of 1.69. The company has a market capitalization of $5.68 billion, a PE ratio of 23.32, a PEG ratio of 1.80 and a beta of 0.94.

Watsco (NYSE:WSO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 14th. The construction company reported $1.02 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.06 by ($0.04). Watsco had a net margin of 5.04% and a return on equity of 14.29%. The firm had revenue of $991.32 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.01 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.19 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 2.8% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Watsco will post 6.71 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 30th. Stockholders of record on Monday, April 15th will be paid a $1.60 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, April 12th. This represents a $6.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.23%. Watsco’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 98.61%.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of WSO. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its holdings in shares of Watsco by 0.6% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 777,248 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $138,427,000 after acquiring an additional 4,855 shares during the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Watsco by 68.7% in the 3rd quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 3,067 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $546,000 after acquiring an additional 1,249 shares during the last quarter. Hsbc Holdings PLC lifted its holdings in shares of Watsco by 32.8% in the 3rd quarter. Hsbc Holdings PLC now owns 2,405 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $429,000 after acquiring an additional 594 shares during the last quarter. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Watsco by 73.4% in the 3rd quarter. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC now owns 6,264 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $1,116,000 after acquiring an additional 2,652 shares during the last quarter. Finally, The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company lifted its holdings in shares of Watsco by 6.5% in the 3rd quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 114,620 shares of the construction company’s stock worth $20,414,000 after acquiring an additional 6,973 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 78.74% of the company’s stock.

About Watsco

Watsco, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, distributes air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration equipment; and related parts and supplies in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. It offers residential ducted and ductless air conditioners; gas, electric, and oil furnaces; commercial air conditioning and heating equipment systems; and other specialized equipment.

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