Caterpillar (CAT) Upgraded to Buy by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday. They currently have $170.00 price objective on the industrial products company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Backed by strong order rates, lean dealer inventories and strong backlog, Caterpillar projects EPS in $8.25-$9.25 range for 2018, a 27% year-over-year rise at the mid-point. The Construction segment will benefit from continued demand improvement in North American residential, non-residential and infrastructure markets. Rising commodity prices will drive Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation’s revenues. Ongoing cost cutting efforts and additional investments in expanded offerings and services will drive growth. Moreover, earnings estimates have been going up ahead of first-quarter earnings release. The company also has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. The stock has also outperformed the industry over the past year.”

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A number of other equities research analysts have also weighed in on the company. Vetr raised Caterpillar from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $170.44 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, February 5th. JPMorgan Chase upgraded Caterpillar from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and lifted their price target for the company from $161.96 to $200.00 in a report on Monday, January 8th. Citigroup lifted their price target on Caterpillar from $145.00 to $160.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a report on Thursday, December 21st. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price target on Caterpillar from $155.00 to $192.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Friday, January 19th. Finally, Wells Fargo lifted their price target on Caterpillar from $160.00 to $200.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, January 18th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating, seventeen have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $171.95.

Shares of NYSE CAT opened at $155.95 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.73, a current ratio of 1.35 and a quick ratio of 0.97. The firm has a market cap of $91,622.01, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.67, a PEG ratio of 1.39 and a beta of 1.30. Caterpillar has a twelve month low of $92.98 and a twelve month high of $173.24.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, January 25th. The industrial products company reported $2.16 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.77 by $0.39. The business had revenue of $12.90 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $12.01 billion. Caterpillar had a return on equity of 28.69% and a net margin of 1.66%. Caterpillar’s revenue was up 34.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.83 EPS. research analysts expect that Caterpillar will post 9.22 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, May 19th. Investors of record on Monday, April 23rd will be paid a dividend of $0.78 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, April 20th. This represents a $3.12 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.00%. Caterpillar’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 45.35%.

In related news, insider Thomas A. Pellette sold 95,199 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $163.09, for a total transaction of $15,526,004.91. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 96,268 shares in the company, valued at approximately $15,700,348.12. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, General Counsel Suzette M. Long sold 528 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $160.46, for a total value of $84,722.88. Following the transaction, the general counsel now owns 19,646 shares in the company, valued at $3,152,397.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.14% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Gradient Investments LLC acquired a new stake in Caterpillar during the 4th quarter worth about $113,000. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd acquired a new stake in Caterpillar during the 4th quarter worth about $131,000. Clearbridge LLC acquired a new stake in Caterpillar during the 4th quarter worth about $140,000. Aevitas Wealth Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Caterpillar during the 4th quarter worth about $143,000. Finally, Sandy Spring Bank lifted its position in Caterpillar by 61.9% during the 4th quarter. Sandy Spring Bank now owns 981 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $155,000 after acquiring an additional 375 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 69.25% of the company’s stock.

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Caterpillar Company Profile

Caterpillar Inc manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives for construction, resource, and energy and transportation industries. Its Construction Industries segment offers asphalt pavers, backhoe loaders, compactors, cold planers, compact truck and multi-terrain loaders, forestry excavators, feller bunchers, harvesters, knuckleboom loaders, motorgraders, pipelayers, road reclaimers, site prep tractors, skidders, skid steer loaders, telehandlers, track-type loaders, wheel excavators, and track-type tractors.

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