Zacks Investment Research Lowers International Paper (IP) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of International Paper (NYSE:IP) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Backed by solid commercial performance and continued healthy demand across its businesses, the company is positioned to deliver improved results in the fourth quarter of 2018 and fiscal 2019 as well. However, elevated input costs and distribution costs will dent near-term margins. The stock has underperformed the industry over the past year. Nevertheless, International Paper will benefit from its restructuring initiatives, and significant investments to improve its North American containerboard mill system and enhance product quality. The company expects the acquisition of Weyerhaeuser’s pulp business to strengthen its position in the global fluff pulp market and augment its operating cash flow. The company has a positive record of earnings surprises in the last few quarters.”

Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a buy rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of International Paper in a report on Tuesday, October 23rd. Citigroup reduced their target price on International Paper from $67.00 to $51.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a report on Thursday, October 11th. Argus reduced their target price on International Paper from $70.00 to $55.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a report on Monday, October 29th. Deutsche Bank set a $55.00 target price on International Paper and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Monday, October 29th. Finally, Stephens set a $57.00 target price on International Paper and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, September 11th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $58.00.

NYSE:IP opened at $43.44 on Wednesday. International Paper has a 1-year low of $39.60 and a 1-year high of $66.94. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.52, a quick ratio of 1.13 and a current ratio of 1.59. The firm has a market capitalization of $17.59 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.45, a PEG ratio of 0.86 and a beta of 1.52.

International Paper (NYSE:IP) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The basic materials company reported $1.56 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.47 by $0.09. International Paper had a net margin of 13.68% and a return on equity of 29.75%. The firm had revenue of $5.90 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.90 billion. Analysts forecast that International Paper will post 5.31 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 14th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 15th were paid a dividend of $0.50 per share. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.60%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, November 14th. This is an increase from International Paper’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. International Paper’s payout ratio is 57.31%.

International Paper declared that its board has initiated a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, October 9th that permits the company to buyback $430.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization permits the basic materials company to reacquire up to 2.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, insider Jeanmichel Ribieras sold 10,000 shares of International Paper stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.20, for a total transaction of $542,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, SVP John V. Sims sold 4,725 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.35, for a total transaction of $256,803.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in International Paper by 0.5% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 36,790,627 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,916,056,000 after purchasing an additional 201,122 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in International Paper by 0.3% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 31,253,119 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,536,091,000 after purchasing an additional 101,749 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc raised its stake in International Paper by 0.3% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 31,253,119 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,536,091,000 after purchasing an additional 101,749 shares during the last quarter. LSV Asset Management raised its stake in International Paper by 10.3% in the 3rd quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 4,723,998 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $232,184,000 after purchasing an additional 439,685 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised its stake in International Paper by 8.7% in the 3rd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 3,542,394 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $174,109,000 after purchasing an additional 284,827 shares during the last quarter. 81.00% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

International Paper Company Profile

International Paper Company operates as a paper and packaging company primarily in North America, Europe, Latin America, North Africa, India, and Russia. It operates through three segments: Industrial Packaging, Global Cellulose Fibers, and Printing Papers. The Industrial Packaging segment manufactures containerboards, including linerboard, medium, whitetop, recycled linerboard, recycled medium, and saturating kraft.

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