Will This Price Target Cut Hurt NetApp (NTAP) Today?

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Sterne Agree cut its price target for NetApp (NTAP) to $36 Friday.

Shares of NetApp fell 1.5% to $38.44 in morning trading.

NetApp shares closed at $39.03 Thursday. The analyst firm maintained its "hold" rating for the data storage company. Sterne Agee also lowered its estimates for NetApp, citing increased competition that company now faces.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates NETAPP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate NETAPP INC (NTAP) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Computers & Peripherals industry average. The net income increased by 21.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $158.10 million to $192.10 million.
  • Although NTAP's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.25 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. To add to this, NTAP has a quick ratio of 2.33, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The gross profit margin for NETAPP INC is rather high; currently it is at 67.45%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, NTAP's net profit margin of 11.93% significantly trails the industry average.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Computers & Peripherals industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, NETAPP INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: NTAP Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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