Baxter International Inc. (BAX) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday morning. The firm currently has $69.00 target price on the medical instruments supplier’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Over the past year, Baxter has outperformed the broader industry in terms of price performance. The company rides on the recent launch of DeviceVue, a comprehensive asset tracking solution available exclusively to hospitals. However, lower cyclophosphamide sales in the coming quarters might mar the Baxter’s bottom line. Of the major positives, a favorable product mix, stringent cost control and expanding operating margin are notable. Baxter reported impressive results in the second quarter, driven by favorable tidings on the regulatory front, strategic partnerships and product launches. The company recently completed the acquisition of Claris Injectables. Solid U.S. sales of IV therapies, IV access sets, select anesthesia and critical care products are key catalysts at the moment. On the flipside, a strong U.S. dollar, intensifying competition and lackluster sales growth are key concerns at the moment.”

BAX has been the topic of several other reports. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a hold rating and issued a $60.00 price target on shares of Baxter International in a research note on Friday, September 1st. UBS AG raised their price target on shares of Baxter International from $57.00 to $62.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Friday, July 28th. Barclays PLC raised their price target on shares of Baxter International from $64.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. BidaskClub raised shares of Baxter International from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Monday, August 14th. Finally, Cowen and Company reissued a market perform rating and issued a $66.00 price target (up from $57.00) on shares of Baxter International in a research note on Monday, July 10th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $65.69.

Shares of Baxter International (NYSE BAX) traded up 0.44% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $61.98. 460,568 shares of the stock traded hands. Baxter International has a 12 month low of $43.13 and a 12 month high of $64.75. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $62.78 and a 200 day moving average of $59.18. The company has a market cap of $33.77 billion, a P/E ratio of 35.83 and a beta of 0.65.

Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The medical instruments supplier reported $0.63 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.57 by $0.06. The firm had revenue of $2.61 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.59 billion. Baxter International had a net margin of 8.85% and a return on equity of 14.82%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.46 earnings per share. Equities analysts anticipate that Baxter International will post $2.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 1st were paid a dividend of $0.16 per share. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.04%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 30th. Baxter International’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 38.79%.

In other Baxter International news, SVP Giuseppe Accogli sold 12,670 shares of Baxter International stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.96, for a total transaction of $772,363.20. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 33,286 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,029,114.56. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Thomas T. Stallkamp sold 8,920 shares of Baxter International stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.28, for a total transaction of $555,537.60. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 16,263 shares in the company, valued at $1,012,859.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 35,050 shares of company stock worth $2,158,587 over the last ninety days. 0.05% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Park National Corp OH raised its stake in Baxter International by 18.9% during the third quarter. Park National Corp OH now owns 10,969 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $688,000 after purchasing an additional 1,746 shares during the period. Griffin Asset Management Inc. purchased a new position in Baxter International during the second quarter worth about $457,000. Achmea Investment Management B.V. raised its stake in Baxter International by 15.3% during the second quarter. Achmea Investment Management B.V. now owns 94,282 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $5,706,000 after purchasing an additional 12,537 shares during the period. USA Financial Portformulas Corp purchased a new position in Baxter International during the second quarter worth about $510,000. Finally, Farmers National Bank raised its stake in Baxter International by 42.4% during the second quarter. Farmers National Bank now owns 8,408 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $509,000 after purchasing an additional 2,502 shares during the period. 83.62% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Baxter International

Baxter International Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides renal and hospital products. The Company operates through two segments: Hospital Products and Renal. Its Hospital Products business manufactures sterile intravenous (IV) solutions and administration sets, premixed drugs and drug-reconstitution systems, pre-filled vials and syringes for injectable drugs, IV nutrition products, parenteral nutrition therapies, infusion pumps, inhalation anesthetics and biosurgery products.

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