Praxair (NYSE:PX) Downgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Praxair (NYSE:PX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday, January 8th.

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 $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. However, the company's exposure to risks arising from higher production costs, stiff competition, high debt levels, geopolitical issues and from unfavorable movements in foreign currencies might adversely impact its financials in the near term. Lingering impact of hurricanes will adversely impact fourth quarter earnings by 2 cents.”

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Deutsche Bank upgraded Praxair from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their target price for the stock from $155.00 to $175.00 in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. Jefferies Group set a $186.00 price target on Praxair and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, December 11th. Barclays raised their price target on Praxair from $140.00 to $160.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. SunTrust Banks reissued a “buy” rating and set a $162.00 price objective on shares of Praxair in a report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, UBS Group raised their price objective on Praxair to $176.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, December 15th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $159.86.

Praxair (PX) traded up $0.34 during trading on Monday, hitting $164.15. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,644,400 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,940,422. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.22, a current ratio of 1.11 and a quick ratio of 0.91. Praxair has a 52-week low of $115.53 and a 52-week high of $166.08. The company has a market cap of $45,940.00, a PE ratio of 29.21, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.26 and a beta of 1.00.

Praxair (NYSE:PX) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The basic materials company reported $1.50 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.44 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $2.92 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.84 billion. Praxair had a return on equity of 27.13% and a net margin of 14.56%. Praxair’s quarterly revenue was up 7.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.41 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Praxair will post 5.81 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Director Raymond W. Leboeuf sold 6,550 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction 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 completion of the sale, the director now owns 16,697 shares in the company, valued at $1,957,890.22. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.23% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Beach Investment Management LLC. bought a new position in Praxair during the second quarter valued at approximately $5,491,000. Federated Investors Inc. PA raised its position in Praxair by 47.3% during the second quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 10,057 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,333,000 after purchasing an additional 3,228 shares during the period. Pacad Investment Ltd. purchased a new stake in Praxair during the second quarter valued at approximately $159,000. Calamos Advisors LLC raised its position in Praxair by 2.7% during the second quarter. Calamos Advisors LLC now owns 38,782 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $5,141,000 after purchasing an additional 1,028 shares during the period. Finally, Ffcm LLC raised its position in Praxair by 6.4% during the second quarter. Ffcm LLC now owns 13,018 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,726,000 after purchasing an additional 782 shares during the period. 85.51% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Praxair

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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