Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Becton Dickinson and (NYSE:BDX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Tuesday. The firm currently has $243.00 price target on the medical instruments supplier’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Becton, Dickinson outperformed the industry in a year’s time. Becton, Dickinson’s strong performance by the core BD Medical and Life Sciences segment buoys optimism. Domestic and international revenues also increased year over year in the last-reported quarter. A bullish guidance for fiscal 2019 is indicative of brighter prospects. The company continues to gain from its C.R. Bard acquisition. Notably, BD expects the buyout to contribute significantly to earnings in fiscal 2019. A broad spectrum of products is a major positive. On the flip side, gross and operating margin contraction in the last-reported quarter raises concerns. Management expects several headwinds to mar BD’s prospects in fiscal 2019. Additionally, negative impact from foreign currency in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 is expected. Stiff competition in the MedTech space adds to the woes. “

Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. TheStreet downgraded Becton Dickinson and from a b+ rating to a c+ rating in a report on Friday, December 7th. KeyCorp raised their target price on Becton Dickinson and from $264.00 to $273.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a report on Thursday, November 8th. Citigroup reduced their target price on Becton Dickinson and from $289.00 to $279.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, November 13th. Wells Fargo & Co reduced their target price on Becton Dickinson and from $290.00 to $280.00 and set an outperform rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, November 7th. Finally, UBS Group began coverage on Becton Dickinson and in a report on Tuesday, November 27th. They issued a neutral rating and a $260.00 target price for the company. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Becton Dickinson and has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $251.85.

Becton Dickinson and stock traded down $1.71 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $227.74. The company had a trading volume of 19,530 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,235,191. The firm has a market capitalization of $61.02 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.75, a P/E/G ratio of 1.63 and a beta of 1.21. Becton Dickinson and has a 1 year low of $208.62 and a 1 year high of $265.87. The company has a quick ratio of 0.69, a current ratio of 1.03 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.90.

Becton Dickinson and (NYSE:BDX) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, November 6th. The medical instruments supplier reported $2.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.93. The business had revenue of $4.40 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.36 billion. Becton Dickinson and had a net margin of 1.47% and a return on equity of 13.88%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 39.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $2.40 earnings per share. As a group, research analysts expect that Becton Dickinson and will post 12.11 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, December 31st. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 10th were paid a dividend of $0.77 per share. This represents a $3.08 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.35%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, December 7th. This is an increase from Becton Dickinson and’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.75. Becton Dickinson and’s payout ratio is 27.97%.

In related news, SVP Charles R. Bodner sold 2,080 shares of Becton Dickinson and stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $245.83, for a total transaction of $511,326.40. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 4,497 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,105,497.51. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP James W. Borzi sold 5,887 shares of Becton Dickinson and stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $252.37, for a total value of $1,485,702.19. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 6,013 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,517,500.81. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 81,795 shares of company stock valued at $19,571,318 in the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 0.12% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of BDX. Alps Advisors Inc. increased its position in Becton Dickinson and by 35.3% during the 2nd quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 1,307 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $313,000 after purchasing an additional 341 shares in the last quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp increased its position in Becton Dickinson and by 1,818.1% during the 2nd quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 3,491 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $836,000 after purchasing an additional 3,309 shares in the last quarter. Bank of America Corp DE increased its position in Becton Dickinson and by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 2,766,688 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $662,788,000 after purchasing an additional 15,603 shares in the last quarter. Measured Wealth Private Client Group LLC purchased a new stake in Becton Dickinson and during the 2nd quarter worth about $235,000. Finally, OLD Mission Capital LLC purchased a new stake in Becton Dickinson and during the 2nd quarter worth about $300,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 83.77% of the company’s stock.

Becton Dickinson and Company Profile

Becton, Dickinson and Company develops, manufactures, and sells medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment, and diagnostic products worldwide. The company's BD Medical segment offers peripheral IV and advanced peripheral catheters, central lines, acute dialysis catheters, vascular care and preparation products, needle-free IV connectors and extensions sets, IV fluids, closed-system drug transfer devices, hazardous drug detection, hypodermic syringes and needles, anesthesia needles and trays, enteral syringes, sharps disposal systems; infusion pumps and dedicated disposables, medication compounding workflow systems, automated medication dispensing, automated supply management systems, medication inventory optimization and tracking systems; syringes, pen needles, and other products for diabetes care; and prefillable drug delivery systems.

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