Praxair (PX) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Praxair (NYSE:PX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $177.00 target price on the basic materials company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “In the last year, Praxair's shares have outperformed the industry. 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. Praxair 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. 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. In the last 60 days, earnings estimates for the stock increased for both 2018 and 2019.”

A number of other brokerages have also recently issued reports on PX. Citigroup lowered their price target on shares of Praxair from $188.00 to $163.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday, April 10th. ValuEngine cut shares of Praxair from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 7th. TheStreet raised shares of Praxair from a c+ rating to an a- rating in a research report on Thursday, April 26th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued a buy rating and set a $179.00 price target on shares of Praxair in a research report on Friday, April 27th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets started coverage on shares of Praxair in a research report on Tuesday, March 27th. They set a market perform rating and a $159.00 price target for the company. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $174.67.

NYSE:PX opened at $158.14 on Wednesday. Praxair has a 12 month low of $127.36 and a 12 month high of $166.95. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.07, a current ratio of 0.94 and a quick ratio of 0.77. The stock has a market capitalization of $44.76 billion, a PE ratio of 25.43, a P/E/G ratio of 2.01 and a beta of 1.08.

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

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

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd bought a new stake in Praxair during the 1st quarter valued at about $892,000. Winthrop Partners WNY LLC bought a new stake in Praxair during the 1st quarter valued at about $170,000. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC bought a new stake in Praxair during the 1st quarter valued at about $280,000. Chesapeake Wealth Management bought a new stake in Praxair during the 1st quarter valued at about $288,000. Finally, Reliant Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Praxair by 2.4% during the 1st 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 in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 85.65% of the company’s stock.

Praxair Company Profile

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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