Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Zoetis Inc. (NYSE:ZTS) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Friday morning. The firm currently has $56.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Zoetis reported better-than-expected third-quarter results, wherein earnings surpassed estimates by a wide margin. It also managed to beat revenue estimates, albeit marginally. Zoetis’ companion animal business continued to perform well in the reported quarter.Zoetis has once again raised its earnings outlook for 2016 on the back of a strong year-to-date performance, which is encouraging. Further, its efforts on boosting operational efficiency bode well. We are positive on Zoetis’ recent acquisition of Scandinavian Micro Biodevices, which should expand its offerings in the growing veterinary diagnostics segment of the animal health market. We expect to see more of such acquisitions/deals at the company as it continues to focus on acquiring complementary businesses and products.However, performance of the livestock business is concerning. Headwinds remain in the form of disease outbreaks and stiff competition in the animal health space.”

Several other research firms have also recently commented on ZTS. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $60.00 price objective on shares of Zoetis in a research report on Tuesday, August 23rd. Guggenheim reaffirmed a positive rating and set a $60.00 price objective on shares of Zoetis in a research report on Monday, August 22nd. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $58.00 price objective on shares of Zoetis in a research report on Wednesday, October 12th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $53.00 price objective on shares of Zoetis in a research report on Thursday, November 3rd. Finally, Barclays PLC increased their price objective on Zoetis from $45.00 to $49.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research report on Thursday, August 4th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Zoetis presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $55.92.

Shares of Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS) opened at 50.38 on Friday. Zoetis has a 12 month low of $38.26 and a 12 month high of $53.14. The company has a market capitalization of $24.88 billion, a PE ratio of 36.32 and a beta of 1.05. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $49.97 and its 200 day moving average price is $49.70.

Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 2nd. The company reported $0.52 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.46 by $0.06. Zoetis had a return on equity of 72.96% and a net margin of 14.10%. The company had revenue of $1.20 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.22 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.50 earnings per share. Zoetis’s revenue was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that Zoetis will post $1.94 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 1st. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 3rd will be given a dividend of $0.095 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, November 1st. This represents a $0.38 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.75%. Zoetis’s payout ratio is currently 27.54%.

In related news, insider Andrew Fenton sold 13,870 shares of Zoetis stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.25, for a total transaction of $710,837.50. Following the sale, the insider now owns 17,719 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $908,098.75. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Kristin C. Peck sold 10,092 shares of Zoetis stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.55, for a total value of $500,058.60. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 22,768 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,128,154.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Ngam Advisors L.P. increased its stake in shares of Zoetis by 88.0% in the second quarter. Ngam Advisors L.P. now owns 200,416 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,512,000 after buying an additional 93,838 shares during the period. Cullen Frost Bankers Inc. increased its stake in shares of Zoetis by 0.7% in the second quarter. Cullen Frost Bankers Inc. now owns 347,368 shares of the company’s stock valued at $16,486,000 after buying an additional 2,470 shares during the period. Columbus Circle Investors increased its stake in shares of Zoetis by 43.9% in the second quarter. Columbus Circle Investors now owns 477,128 shares of the company’s stock valued at $22,644,000 after buying an additional 145,641 shares during the period. Raymond James Trust N.A. increased its stake in shares of Zoetis by 5.0% in the second quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 5,909 shares of the company’s stock valued at $281,000 after buying an additional 281 shares during the period. Finally, UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. increased its stake in shares of Zoetis by 30.5% in the third quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 1,836,794 shares of the company’s stock valued at $95,532,000 after buying an additional 429,263 shares during the period. 92.41% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Zoetis

Zoetis Inc is engaged in the discovery, development, manufacture and commercialization of animal health medicines and vaccines, with a focus on both livestock and companion animals. The Company has a diversified business, marketing products across over eight core species: cattle, swine, poultry, sheep and fish (collectively, livestock), and dogs, cats and horses (collectively, companion animals), and within over five product categories: anti-infectives, vaccines, parasiticides, medicated feed additives and other pharmaceuticals.

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