Why Is Waters (WAT) Down 0.2% Since Last Earnings Report?

It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Waters (WAT). Shares have lost about 0.2% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Waters due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

Waters' Q2 Earnings & Revenues Beat Estimates

Waters Corporation reported second-quarter 2020 non-GAAP earnings of $2.10 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 37.2%. Further, the bottom line improved 82.6% sequentially but declined 2% on a year-over-year basis.

Net sales of $519.9 million beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $490 million. The top line was up 11.8% from the prior quarter. However, the figure was down 13% from the year-ago quarter on reported basis and 12% on constant currency basis.

The decline can be attributed to coronavirus-induced disruptions, which led to sluggish demand across all the geographies. Further, foreign currency headwinds hurt sales by 1%.

Further, softness in pharmaceutical, industrial, and academic and governmental markets remained a headwind. Further, the company encountered weakness in the Americas, Europe and Asia regions during the second quarter owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nevertheless, solid execution of the company’s cost-cutting strategies was a major positive during the reported quarter. Further, Waters’ new product pipelines remained a tailwind.

Top Line in Detail

Waters’ net sales figure can be categorized in four ways:

By Operating Segment: The company operates in two organized segments — Waters and TA.

Waters segment (89.6% of net sales) generated $465.7 million of sales, down 12% from the year-ago quarter. Sales in TA segment were $54.3 million, which accounted for 10.4% of net sales. The figure reflected year-over-year decline of 20%.

By Products & Services: This division comprises three segments — Instruments, Services and Chemistry.

Instruments sales (42.3% of sales) came in $219.8 million, down 23% on a year-over-year basis.

Service sales (39.4% of the sales) were $205.1 million, declining 3% year over year.

Chemistry sales (18.3% of the sales) were $95.1 million, down5% from the year-ago quarter.

Moreover, service and chemistry sections together generated recurring revenues of $300.2 million, down 4% from the year-ago quarter.

By Markets: The company serves three end markets — Pharmaceutical, Industrial and Governmental & Academic.

Pharmaceutical market (59.8% of net sales) generated sales of $311.02 million, down 11% on a year-over-year basis.

Industrial market (29.3% of sales) sales came in $152.1 million, down 14% from the year-ago quarter.

Governmental & Academic (10.9% of sales) generated $56.9million of sales. The figure declined 22% year over year.

By Geography: This company’s operating regions include Asia, Americas and Europe.

Asia (40% of net sales) generated $208.2 million of sales, down 13% on a year-over-year basis. This was primarily due to softness in China where sales declined 20% from the year-ago quarter.

Europe (26% of sales) generated $136.9 million of sales, decreasing 11% year over year.

Americas (34% of sales) generated $174.8 million of sales, down 15% from prior-year quarter. Sales in United States declined 14% year over year.

Operating Details

In the second quarter, non-GAAP selling and administrative expenses were $111.7million, reflecting a decrease of 14.4% from the year-ago quarter.

Research and development spending was $31.2 million, indicating a decline of 14.6% from the year-ago reported figure.

Adjusted operating margin was 31.5%, which expanded 100 basis points (bps) year over year.

Balance Sheet & Cash Flow

As of Jun 27, 2020, cash, cash equivalents and investments came in $355.8 million, lowerthan $393.9 million as of Mar 28, 2020.

Further, total liabilities were $2.8 billion, down from $3 billion in the prior quarter.

Waters generated cash from operation of $198.8 million in the second quarter, up from $151.6 million in the prior quarter.

Further, free cash flow of $175.4million in the reported quarter.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates review have trended downward during the past month.

VGM Scores

Currently, Waters has a strong Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with a C. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of D on the value side, putting it in the bottom 40% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of B. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.


Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. Notably, Waters has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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