Graco (GGG) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Graco (NYSE:GGG) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Friday. The firm currently has $52.00 price target on the industrial products company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Graco Inc. is a leading provider of premium pumps and spray equipment for fluid handling in the construction, manufacturing, processing and maintenance industries. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Graco works closely with distributors around the world to offer innovative products that set the quality standard for spray finishing, paint circulation, lubrication, sealant and adhesives dispensing, process application, and contractor power equipment. These best-in-class products are manufactured in the U.S. and China and supplied through their distribution centers in Minnesota, Belgium, Japan, Korea, China and Australia. “

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Several other brokerages have also issued reports on GGG. Deutsche Bank raised Graco from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $55.00 target price for the company in a research note on Tuesday, January 23rd. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $49.00 target price on shares of Graco in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $45.00 target price on shares of Graco in a research note on Wednesday, January 31st. B. Riley upped their target price on Graco from $47.00 to $50.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 30th. Finally, Oppenheimer reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of Graco in a research note on Thursday, December 28th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $47.33.

GGG stock opened at $45.11 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 2.70, a quick ratio of 1.67 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.31. The company has a market capitalization of $7,640.15, a P/E ratio of 31.55, a P/E/G ratio of 2.41 and a beta of 1.15. Graco has a 1-year low of $30.80 and a 1-year high of $49.69.

Graco (NYSE:GGG) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Monday, January 29th. The industrial products company reported $0.34 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.36 by ($0.02). The company had revenue of $374.90 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $369.53 million. Graco had a return on equity of 40.08% and a net margin of 17.12%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.00 earnings per share. sell-side analysts predict that Graco will post 1.78 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 2nd. Stockholders of record on Monday, April 16th will be paid a dividend of $0.1325 per share. This represents a $0.53 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.17%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, April 13th. Graco’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 37.06%.

In other news, VP Karen Park Gallivan sold 27,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.34, for a total transaction of $1,305,180.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 72,305 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,495,223.70. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director William J. Carroll sold 26,625 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, March 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.67, for a total value of $1,242,588.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 63,564 shares of company stock valued at $2,965,505. Insiders own 5.10% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC purchased a new stake in Graco in the third quarter worth $223,000. Valley National Advisers Inc. lifted its stake in Graco by 200.0% in the fourth quarter. Valley National Advisers Inc. now owns 2,385 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $108,000 after acquiring an additional 1,590 shares during the period. Meeder Asset Management Inc. lifted its stake in Graco by 53.5% in the fourth quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 3,174 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $144,000 after acquiring an additional 1,106 shares during the period. Whittier Trust Co. of Nevada Inc. lifted its stake in Graco by 286.6% in the fourth quarter. Whittier Trust Co. of Nevada Inc. now owns 3,363 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $152,000 after acquiring an additional 2,493 shares during the period. Finally, Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. lifted its stake in Graco by 23.6% in the third quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 3,603 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $446,000 after acquiring an additional 687 shares during the period. 86.19% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Graco

Graco Inc designs, manufactures, and markets systems and equipment used to move, measure, control, dispense, and spray fluid and powder materials worldwide. Its Industrial segment offers proportioning systems that are used to spray polyurethane foam and polyurea coatings; vapor-abrasive blasting equipment; equipment that pumps, meters, mixes, and dispenses sealant, adhesive, and composite materials; and gel coat equipment, chop and wet-out systems, resin transfer molding systems, and applicators.

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