Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE:ITW) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Friday. They currently have $131.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Over the long run, Illinois Tool Works' organic and inorganic growth tactics, its long-term Enterprise Strategy and sound capital allocation schemes will likely prove beneficial. In August, the company hiked its quarterly dividend rate by 18%. For 2016, the company increased its earnings guidance to $5.50-$5.70 from the previous expectation of $5.40-$5.60 per share. Operating margin is expected to exceed 22.5%, driven by more than 100 bps contribution from the company's enterprise initiatives. We believe these positives were the primary reasons behind the increase in the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company for 2016 and 2017.”

ITW has been the topic of a number of other reports. Credit Suisse Group AG set a $114.00 price objective on Illinois Tool Works and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, July 21st. Robert W. Baird cut Illinois Tool Works from an outperform rating to a neutral rating and set a $108.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Thursday, June 23rd. RBC Capital Markets reaffirmed a sector perform rating and set a $104.00 price objective (up from $101.00) on shares of Illinois Tool Works in a research note on Sunday, July 24th. Royal Bank Of Canada raised their price objective on Illinois Tool Works from $101.00 to $104.00 and gave the company a sector perform rating in a research note on Thursday, July 21st. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG raised their price objective on Illinois Tool Works from $119.00 to $128.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Friday, July 15th. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $108.43.

Shares of Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) traded up 1.51% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $117.94. The company had a trading volume of 124,284 shares. Illinois Tool Works has a one year low of $79.15 and a one year high of $123.50. The company has a market capitalization of $41.86 billion, a PE ratio of 21.96 and a beta of 1.15. The company has a 50 day moving average of $118.09 and a 200 day moving average of $107.78.

Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $1.46 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.40 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $3.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.41 billion. Illinois Tool Works had a return on equity of 38.15% and a net margin of 14.65%. The firm’s revenue was down .1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.30 earnings per share. Analysts predict that Illinois Tool Works will post $5.63 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 6th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 30th will be issued a dividend of $0.65 per share. This represents a $2.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.24%. This is a positive change from Illinois Tool Works’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.55. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, September 28th. Illinois Tool Works’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 40.97%.

In other news, insider Sundaram Nagarajan sold 4,560 shares of Illinois Tool Works stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $119.50, for a total transaction of $544,920.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 24,777 shares in the company, valued at $2,960,851.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Vice Chairman David C. Parry sold 40,000 shares of Illinois Tool Works stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $118.49, for a total transaction of $4,739,600.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 40,584 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,808,798.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.80% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its position in Illinois Tool Works by 68.3% in the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 2,847,563 shares of the company’s stock valued at $296,644,000 after buying an additional 1,155,191 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its position in Illinois Tool Works by 51.4% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 3,111,178 shares of the company’s stock valued at $324,061,000 after buying an additional 1,055,623 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can acquired a new position in Illinois Tool Works during the second quarter valued at about $106,575,000. Prudential Financial Inc. raised its position in Illinois Tool Works by 160.1% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 1,091,590 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,823,000 after buying an additional 671,870 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC acquired a new position in Illinois Tool Works during the first quarter valued at about $55,010,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.98% of the company’s stock.

About Illinois Tool Works

Illinois Tool Works Inc (ITW) is a manufacturer of a range of industrial products and equipment. The Company operates through seven segments: Automotive OEM, Test & Measurement and Electronics, Food Equipment, Polymers & Fluids, Welding, Construction Products and Specialty Products. It produces components and fasteners for automotive-related applications; equipment, consumables and related software for testing and measuring of materials and structures, and equipment and consumables used in the production of electronic subassemblies and microelectronics; adhesives, sealants, lubrication and cutting fluids, and fluids and polymers for auto aftermarket maintenance and appearance; arc welding equipment, consumables and accessories for a range of industrial and commercial applications, and beverage packaging equipment and consumables, product coding and marking equipment, and consumables, and appliance components and fasteners.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:ITW

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