Praxair (PX) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

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

According to Zacks, “In the last three months, Praxair's shares have outperformed the industry. The company reported better-than-expected results for the first quarter of 2018. It anticipates further improvements on the back of rise in global industrial production, strengthening end markets, sound product portfolio and new project wins in the quarters ahead. For the second quarter of 2018, the company anticipates earnings of $1.67-$1.72 per share, above $1.65 recorded in the first quarter and roughly 14-18% above the year-ago quarter. Notably, the second-quarter forecast includes 5 cents of gain from the recent tax reform in the United States. Also, the company is going to merge with Linde to form a leading industrial gas company. The merger is anticipated to be completed in the second half of 2018. However, higher debt levels and rising costs might prove detrimental to the company's profitability.”

Several other analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Citigroup raised their target price on shares of Praxair from $163.00 to $177.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Monday, April 30th. ValuEngine cut shares of Praxair from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, June 21st. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised their target price on shares of Praxair from $179.00 to $180.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a report on Friday, June 15th. BMO Capital Markets started coverage on shares of Praxair in a report on Tuesday, March 27th. They issued a market perform rating and a $159.00 target price on the stock. Finally, TheStreet raised shares of Praxair from a c+ rating to an a- rating in a report on Thursday, April 26th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $174.67.

Shares of PX opened at $158.15 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $44.27 billion, a PE ratio of 27.03, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 1.08. Praxair has a 1 year low of $127.36 and a 1 year high of $166.95. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.07, a quick ratio of 0.77 and a current ratio of 0.94.

Praxair (NYSE:PX) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 26th. The basic materials company reported $1.65 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.56 by $0.09. The business had revenue of $3 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.93 billion. Praxair had a net margin of 11.27% and a return on equity of 26.91%. analysts predict that Praxair will post 6.75 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, June 7th were paid a $0.825 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, June 6th. This represents a $3.30 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.09%. Praxair’s dividend payout ratio is currently 56.41%.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd purchased a new position in Praxair in the first quarter valued at approximately $892,000. Winthrop Partners WNY LLC purchased a new position in Praxair in the first quarter valued at approximately $170,000. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC purchased a new position in Praxair in the first quarter valued at approximately $280,000. Chesapeake Wealth Management purchased a new position in Praxair in the first quarter valued at approximately $288,000. Finally, Reliant Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Praxair by 2.4% in the first quarter. Reliant Investment Management LLC now owns 19,972 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,882,000 after purchasing an additional 477 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 85.99% of the company’s stock.

About Praxair

Praxair, Inc produces and distributes industrial gases. It operates through five segments: North America, Europe, South America, Asia, and Surface Technologies. The company offers atmospheric gases, including oxygen, nitrogen, argon, and rare gases; and process gases, such as carbon dioxide, helium, hydrogen, electronic gases, specialty gases, and acetylene.

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