Zacks Investment Research Lowers Praxair (NYSE:PX) to Hold

Praxair (NYSE:PX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday, December 26th.

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, the company raised its earnings guidance to $5.78-$5.83, 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 with a strong international presence, a large customer base and solid financial flexibility. 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 also recently issued reports on PX. Susquehanna Bancshares raised shares of Praxair from a “neutral” rating to a “positive” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $131.00 to $155.00 in a report on Thursday, September 7th. UBS Group raised shares of Praxair from a “neutral” rating to a “positive” rating in a report on Thursday, September 7th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $162.00 price objective on shares of Praxair in a report on Thursday, October 19th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted their price objective on shares of Praxair from $145.00 to $172.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, November 17th. Finally, Barclays lifted their price objective on shares of Praxair from $140.00 to $160.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $159.86.

Praxair (NYSE:PX) opened at $164.15 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.22, a quick ratio of 0.91 and a current ratio of 1.11. The stock has a market cap of $47,000.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.21, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.25 and a beta of 1.00. Praxair has a fifty-two week low of $115.53 and a fifty-two week high of $166.08.

Praxair (NYSE:PX) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The basic materials company reported $1.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.44 by $0.06. The firm had revenue of $2.92 billion for 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 business’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.41 EPS. sell-side analysts anticipate that Praxair will post 5.81 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director Raymond W. Leboeuf sold 6,550 shares of Praxair stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $117.26, for a total transaction of $768,053.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 16,697 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,957,890.22. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Insiders own 0.23% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Praxair by 2.6% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,803,262 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,757,471,000 after acquiring an additional 523,022 shares during the period. Capital World Investors raised its stake in Praxair by 4.3% in the 2nd quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 17,332,349 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,297,403,000 after acquiring an additional 716,835 shares during the period. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec raised its stake in Praxair by 1.6% in the 3rd quarter. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec now owns 4,868,280 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $683,156,000 after acquiring an additional 77,300 shares during the period. Egerton Capital UK LLP raised its stake in Praxair by 24.0% in the 3rd quarter. Egerton Capital UK LLP now owns 3,384,973 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $473,016,000 after acquiring an additional 655,456 shares during the period. Finally, Capital International Investors raised its stake in Praxair by 9.6% in the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 2,981,701 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $416,663,000 after acquiring an additional 262,050 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 85.48% of the company’s stock.

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About Praxair

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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