International Paper (IP) Downgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of International Paper (NYSE:IP) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Backed by solid commercial performance and continued healthy demand across its businesses, the company is positioned to deliver improved results in the fourth quarter of 2018 and fiscal 2019 as well. However, elevated input costs and distribution costs will dent near-term margins. The stock has underperformed the industry over the past year. Nevertheless, International Paper will benefit from its restructuring initiatives, and significant investments to improve its North American containerboard mill system and enhance product quality. The company expects the acquisition of Weyerhaeuser’s pulp business to strengthen its position in the global fluff pulp market and augment its operating cash flow.”

Several other analysts have also commented on IP. Deutsche Bank set a $55.00 price target on International Paper and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Monday, October 29th. Barclays decreased their price target on International Paper from $45.00 to $44.00 and set an underweight rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 29th. Citigroup decreased their price target on International Paper from $67.00 to $51.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, October 11th. Argus decreased their price target on International Paper from $70.00 to $55.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 29th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets lowered International Paper from an outperform rating to a market perform rating and decreased their price target for the company from $66.00 to $51.00 in a research note on Tuesday, October 9th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. International Paper currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $58.21.

Shares of NYSE:IP opened at $44.76 on Wednesday. International Paper has a 1-year low of $39.60 and a 1-year high of $66.94. The company has a market cap of $18.27 billion, a PE ratio of 12.83, a PEG ratio of 0.89 and a beta of 1.52. The company has a current ratio of 1.59, a quick ratio of 1.13 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.52.

International Paper (NYSE:IP) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The basic materials company reported $1.56 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.47 by $0.09. The business had revenue of $5.90 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.90 billion. International Paper had a return on equity of 29.75% and a net margin of 13.68%. Research analysts expect that International Paper will post 5.31 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 14th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 15th will be paid a $0.50 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 14th. This represents a $2.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.47%. This is a positive change from International Paper’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. International Paper’s payout ratio is currently 57.31%.

International Paper declared that its board has approved a share repurchase program on Tuesday, October 9th that allows the company to repurchase $430.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the basic materials company to buy up to 2.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other International Paper news, insider Jeanmichel Ribieras sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.20, for a total value of $542,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, SVP John V. Sims sold 4,725 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.35, for a total value of $256,803.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Qube Research & Technologies Ltd acquired a new position in International Paper in the second quarter worth $106,000. Girard Partners LTD. acquired a new position in International Paper in the third quarter worth $109,000. Meeder Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in International Paper in the third quarter worth $133,000. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC acquired a new position in International Paper in the second quarter worth $139,000. Finally, Diamant Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of International Paper during the third quarter worth $140,000. 81.00% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About International Paper

International Paper Company operates as a paper and packaging company primarily in North America, Europe, Latin America, North Africa, India, and Russia. It operates through three segments: Industrial Packaging, Global Cellulose Fibers, and Printing Papers. The Industrial Packaging segment manufactures containerboards, including linerboard, medium, whitetop, recycled linerboard, recycled medium, and saturating kraft.

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