Zacks Investment Research Lowers Praxair, Inc. (NYSE:PX) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Praxair, Inc. (NYSE:PX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Tuesday, August 1st.

According to Zacks, “In the last six months, Praxair's shares outperformed the industry. In second-quarter 2017, the company's adjusted earnings topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.1%. and grew 5% year over year. Businesses in electronics, chemicals, metals, energy and food and beverage end markets were strong. Gross margin suffered from higher cost of sales. For 2017, Praxair anticipates benefitting from a talented workforce, sound product portfolio and new project wins. It raised its earnings guidance to $5.63-$5.75 from the previous projection of $5.55-$5.80. Also, Praxair'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 in foreign end markets and from unfavorable movements in foreign currencies might adversely impact its financials in the near term.”

Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on PX. BidaskClub lowered shares of Praxair from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, August 1st. Vertical Research raised shares of Praxair to a hold rating and lifted their target price for the company from $123.00 to $127.00 in a report on Wednesday, June 7th. Vertical Group raised shares of Praxair to a hold rating and lifted their target price for the company from $123.00 to $127.00 in a report on Wednesday, June 7th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $162.00 target price on shares of Praxair in a report on Wednesday, June 21st. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co reaffirmed an overweight rating and set a $156.00 target price (up from $130.00) on shares of Praxair in a report on Sunday, June 11th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $135.00.

Shares of Praxair (NYSE:PX) opened at 132.30 on Tuesday. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $132.38 and its 200-day moving average is $126.00. The stock has a market capitalization of $37.84 billion, a PE ratio of 24.78 and a beta of 0.93. Praxair has a one year low of $114.43 and a one year high of $138.69.

Praxair (NYSE:PX) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The basic materials company reported $1.46 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.43 by $0.03. Praxair had a net margin of 14.10% and a return on equity of 27.93%. The business had revenue of $2.83 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.80 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.39 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 6.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts expect that Praxair will post $5.47 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 15th. Investors of record on Friday, September 8th will be issued a $0.7875 dividend. This represents a $3.15 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.38%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, September 6th. Praxair’s payout ratio is presently 58.88%.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Point72 Asia Hong Kong Ltd acquired a new stake in Praxair during the first quarter worth about $233,000. Capital Management Corp VA raised its stake in Praxair by 0.6% in the second quarter. Capital Management Corp VA now owns 1,871 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $248,000 after buying an additional 11 shares during the last quarter. Egerton Capital UK LLP raised its stake in Praxair by 10.1% in the first quarter. Egerton Capital UK LLP now owns 2,338,087 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $277,297,000 after buying an additional 215,399 shares during the last quarter. Cribstone Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Praxair by 49.3% in the first quarter. Cribstone Capital Management LLC now owns 2,360 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $280,000 after buying an additional 779 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Benin Management CORP raised its stake in Praxair by 33.9% in the first quarter. Benin Management CORP now owns 10,570 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,254,000 after buying an additional 2,675 shares during the last quarter. 84.86% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Praxair Company Profile

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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