Praxair (PX) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Praxair (NYSE:PX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “In the last three months, Praxair's shares have outperformed the industry. We believe that the company is poised to leverage benefits from its diversified product portfolio, a large client base and organic and inorganic growth strategies in the long term. For 2017 (results not yet released), the company anticipates earnings to be $5.78-$5.83 per share, reflecting 12 cents increase at mid-point compared with the previous guidance of $5.63-$5.75. Also, the company's merger with Linde will create a leading industrial gas company. However, the company's exposure to risks arising from higher production costs, stiff competition, high debt levels, geopolitical issues and from unfavorable movements in foreign currencies might adversely impact its financials in the near term. Lingering impact of hurricanes will adversely impact fourth quarter earnings by 2 cents.”

PX has been the topic of a number of other research reports. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $162.00 target price on shares of Praxair in a report on Friday, October 27th. Citigroup raised Praxair from a neutral rating to a buy rating and raised their target price for the company from $137.00 to $168.00 in a report on Monday, October 30th. Deutsche Bank raised Praxair from a hold rating to a buy rating and raised their target price for the company from $155.00 to $175.00 in a report on Tuesday, December 19th. UBS Group raised their price objective on Praxair to $176.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, December 15th. Finally, Susquehanna Bancshares raised their price objective on Praxair from $155.00 to $175.00 in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $159.86.

Praxair (NYSE:PX) traded up $0.34 on Monday, reaching $164.15. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,644,425 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,940,422. The firm has a market cap of $47,000.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.21, a P/E/G ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 1.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.22, a current ratio of 1.11 and a quick ratio of 0.91. Praxair has a 12-month low of $115.53 and a 12-month high of $166.08.

Praxair (NYSE:PX) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The basic materials company reported $1.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.44 by $0.06. The firm had revenue of $2.92 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.84 billion. Praxair had a return on equity of 27.13% and a net margin of 14.56%. The company’s revenue was up 7.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.41 EPS. equities research analysts expect that Praxair will post 5.81 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, December 7th were given a $0.7875 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, December 6th. This represents a $3.15 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.92%. Praxair’s dividend payout ratio is currently 56.05%.

In other Praxair news, Director Raymond W. Leboeuf sold 6,550 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $117.26, for a total value of $768,053.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 16,697 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,957,890.22. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 0.23% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC lifted its position in shares of Praxair by 149.8% during the 3rd quarter. Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC now owns 717 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $100,000 after buying an additional 430 shares during the period. BB&T Investment Services Inc. bought a new position in shares of Praxair during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $106,000. Pacific Center for Financial Services lifted its position in shares of Praxair by 65.7% during the 2nd quarter. Pacific Center for Financial Services now owns 898 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $119,000 after buying an additional 356 shares during the period. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. lifted its position in shares of Praxair by 7.0% during the 2nd quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 916 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $121,000 after buying an additional 60 shares during the period. Finally, Accident Compensation Corp bought a new position in shares of Praxair during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $140,000. Institutional investors own 85.48% of the company’s stock.

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About Praxair

Praxair, Inc is an industrial gas company. The Company’s operations are organized into five segments, four of which have been determined on a geographic basis of segmentation: North America, Europe, South America and Asia. In addition, it operates its surface technologies business through its subsidiary, Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc, which represents the fifth segment.

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