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Actuant Upped to Hold on Growth Initiatives; Risks Remain

Zacks Investment Research upgraded Actuant Corporation ATU to a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) from a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) on Mar 22, 2016. Going by the Zacks model, companies with a Zacks Rank #3 have higher chances of performing in-line with the broader market.

Why the Upgrade?

We expect Actuant’s top line and bottom line to improve in the near term on the back of strategic productivity enhancement programs, cost-reduction initiatives and investments to boost innovation. The company is also striving to grow revenues inorganically. For instance, sales generated by the acquired Hydratight business are contributing significantly to its aggregate revenues. Moreover, the improving automotive convertible and European top markets businesses are supporting the company’s sales growth. Also, the company has undertaken capital-deployment programs to boost shareholders’ returns.
Nevertheless, certain lingering issues keep us on the sidelines. Improving scale of operations through greater business internationalization exposes Actuant to several macroeconomic uncertainties such as unfavorable foreign exchange rate. According to the company, the appreciation in the U.S. dollar was responsible for the year-over-year decline in top line and bottom line results in second-quarter fiscal 2016.

The company also believes that poor end-market conditions primarily due to lower oil prices, weak demand in the general industrial, oil & gas, off-highway and agricultural markets are weighing on the aggregate revenues and margins in the recent times. Also, intense competition exposes the company to the risk of losing market share.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks within the industry are Alarm.Com Holdings, Inc. ALRM, Belden Inc. BDC and Briggs & Stratton Corporation BGG. All the three stocks presently hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
BELDEN INC (BDC): Free Stock Analysis Report
ACTUANT CORP (ATU): Free Stock Analysis Report
BRIGGS & STRATT (BGG): Free Stock Analysis Report
ALARM.COM HLDGS (ALRM): Free Stock Analysis Report
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