Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Praxair (PX) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Praxair (NYSE:PX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Monday.

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.”

A number of other research firms have also recently weighed in on PX. Deutsche Bank raised shares of Praxair from a hold rating to a buy rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $155.00 to $175.00 in a report on Tuesday, December 19th. Jefferies Group set a $186.00 price objective on shares of Praxair and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Monday, December 11th. Barclays lifted their price objective on shares of Praxair from $140.00 to $160.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $162.00 price objective on shares of Praxair in a report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, UBS Group lifted their price objective on shares of Praxair to $176.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, December 15th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the stock. Praxair presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $159.43.

Praxair (NYSE:PX) traded down $0.06 during midday trading on Monday, reaching $161.31. 936,600 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,405,800. The firm has a market capitalization of $46,810.00, a P/E ratio of 28.70, a PEG ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 1.00. Praxair has a 52 week low of $115.10 and a 52 week high of $162.34. The company has a quick ratio of 0.91, a current ratio of 1.11 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.22.

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

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 7th were paid a dividend of $0.7875 per share. 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 1.95%. Praxair’s dividend payout ratio is currently 56.05%.

In other news, Director Raymond W. Leboeuf sold 6,550 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $117.26, for a total transaction of $768,053.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 16,697 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,957,890.22. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.23% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC grew its stake in Praxair by 149.8% during the 3rd quarter. Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC now owns 717 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $100,000 after acquiring an additional 430 shares in the last quarter. BB&T Investment Services Inc. purchased a new stake in Praxair during the 2nd quarter valued at about $106,000. Pacific Center for Financial Services grew its stake in Praxair by 65.7% during the 2nd quarter. Pacific Center for Financial Services now owns 898 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $119,000 after acquiring an additional 356 shares in the last quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. grew its stake in Praxair by 7.0% during the 2nd quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 916 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $121,000 after acquiring an additional 60 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Accident Compensation Corp purchased a new stake in Praxair during the 3rd quarter valued at about $140,000. 85.48% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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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