Baxter International (BAX) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Baxter outperformed the industry in a year’s time. It ended the first quarter on a solid note, beating the consensus mark for both the counts. Strong demand for CRRT, injectable pharmaceuticals, advanced surgery products, U.S. IV solutions and peritoneal dialysis therapies boosted sales worldwide. The latest strategic buyouts of RECOTHORM and PREVELEAK are noteworthy. Recently, the company got FDA approval for Spectrum IQ Infusion System. However, Baxter expects its pharmaceutical business to report flat revenues on a year-over-year basis in 2018 owing to stiff competition for select products in the segment. Further, foreign currency headwinds and intense competition have been dampening the company’s performance for long. Baxter’s cyclophosphamide performance over the last five years lacked luster. Lower cyclophosphamide sales pose threats to the Integrated Pharmacy Solutions franchise business.”

Several other research firms have also weighed in on BAX. Citigroup upped their price objective on Baxter International from $70.00 to $72.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday, April 30th. Stifel Nicolaus upped their price objective on Baxter International from $71.00 to $72.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, April 30th. Barclays upped their price objective on Baxter International from $73.00 to $77.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. BMO Capital Markets upped their price objective on Baxter International from $74.00 to $77.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $72.00 price objective on shares of Baxter International in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $72.47.

Shares of Baxter International opened at $70.65 on Wednesday, according to Marketbeat. Baxter International has a 12-month low of $70.19 and a 12-month high of $71.36. The stock has a market cap of $37.88 billion, a P/E ratio of 27.10, a PEG ratio of 1.83 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39, a quick ratio of 2.03 and a current ratio of 2.63.

Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 26th. The medical instruments supplier reported $0.70 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.62 by $0.08. Baxter International had a return on equity of 15.70% and a net margin of 7.75%. The company had revenue of $2.68 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.62 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.58 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 8.2% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts anticipate that Baxter International will post 2.89 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Baxter International declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, February 20th that allows the company to repurchase $1.50 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the medical instruments supplier to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, Director Carole J. Shapazian sold 4,990 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.05, for a total value of $329,589.50. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director James R. Gavin III sold 18,750 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.56, for a total value of $1,210,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 36,398 shares in the company, valued at $2,349,854.88. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 47,500 shares of company stock worth $3,194,912 over the last three months. 0.05% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Drexel Morgan & Co. boosted its holdings in shares of Baxter International by 18.4% in the 1st quarter. Drexel Morgan & Co. now owns 4,887 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $318,000 after acquiring an additional 760 shares in the last quarter. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC lifted its holdings in Baxter International by 16.5% during the 4th quarter. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC now owns 5,464 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $353,000 after buying an additional 774 shares in the last quarter. DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale lifted its holdings in Baxter International by 0.5% during the 4th quarter. DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale now owns 185,750 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $11,508,000 after buying an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. Goelzer Investment Management Inc. lifted its holdings in Baxter International by 13.6% during the 4th quarter. Goelzer Investment Management Inc. now owns 7,677 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $496,000 after buying an additional 922 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Baird Financial Group Inc. lifted its holdings in Baxter International by 0.8% during the 4th quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. now owns 113,681 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $7,348,000 after buying an additional 952 shares in the last quarter. 84.37% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Baxter International

Baxter International Inc provides a portfolio of healthcare products. The company operates through North and South America; Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia-Pacific segments. It offers peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis, and additional dialysis therapies and services; renal replacement therapies and other organ support therapies focused in the intensive care unit; sterile intravenous (IV) solutions, IV therapies, infusion pumps, administration sets, and drug reconstitution devices; and parenteral nutrition therapies.

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