Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Praxair (NYSE:PX) to Buy

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Praxair (NYSE:PX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Friday, January 5th. The firm currently has $176.00 target price on the basic materials company’s stock.

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 within $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 with a strong international presence, a large customer base and solid financial flexibility. Earnings estimates on the stock increased for 2018 in the last 60 days.”

PX has been the subject of several other reports. UBS Group upped their price target on Praxair from $150.00 to $160.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Citigroup upgraded Praxair from a neutral rating to a buy rating and upped their price target for the stock from $137.00 to $168.00 in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Susquehanna Bancshares upgraded Praxair from a neutral rating to a positive rating and upped their price target for the stock from $131.00 to $155.00 in a research note on Thursday, September 7th. Deutsche Bank raised Praxair from a hold rating to a buy rating and upped their target price for the stock from $155.00 to $175.00 in a research report on Tuesday, December 19th. Finally, Argus raised Praxair from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $171.00 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, November 13th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Praxair presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $163.47.

Praxair (PX) opened at $161.49 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $46,240.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 37.38, a P/E/G ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 1.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.20, a current ratio of 0.99 and a quick ratio of 0.81. Praxair has a 12 month low of $115.53 and a 12 month high of $166.95.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, March 7th will be given a dividend of $0.825 per share. This represents a $3.30 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.04%. This is a boost from Praxair’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.79. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, March 6th. Praxair’s dividend payout ratio is presently 72.92%.

In other news, Director Raymond W. Leboeuf sold 6,550 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred 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 sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.23% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Praxair by 2.6% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,803,262 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,757,471,000 after acquiring an additional 523,022 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors boosted its stake in shares of Praxair by 4.3% during the 2nd quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 17,332,349 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,297,403,000 after acquiring an additional 716,835 shares in the last quarter. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec boosted its stake in shares of Praxair by 1.6% during the 3rd quarter. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec now owns 4,868,280 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $683,156,000 after acquiring an additional 77,300 shares in the last quarter. Egerton Capital UK LLP boosted its stake in shares of Praxair by 24.0% during the 3rd quarter. Egerton Capital UK LLP now owns 3,384,973 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $473,016,000 after acquiring an additional 655,456 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Capital International Investors boosted its stake in shares of Praxair by 9.6% during the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 2,981,701 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $416,663,000 after acquiring an additional 262,050 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 85.62% of the company’s stock.

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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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