Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Thursday. Investors acquired 150,694 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 1,234% compared to the average daily volume of 11,294 call options.

CAT has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. ValuEngine upgraded Caterpillar from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Sunday, December 31st. Vetr downgraded Caterpillar from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating and set a $139.26 target price for the company. in a research note on Wednesday, December 27th. Goldman Sachs Group increased their target price on Caterpillar from $143.00 to $158.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 9th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded Caterpillar from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and increased their target price for the company from $161.96 to $200.00 in a research note on Monday, January 8th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Caterpillar from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $142.00 target price for the company in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $156.64.

Caterpillar (NYSE CAT) opened at $170.41 on Friday. Caterpillar has a twelve month low of $90.34 and a twelve month high of $173.24. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.58. The company has a market capitalization of $101,380.00, a P/E ratio of 118.34, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.06 and a beta of 1.29.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The industrial products company reported $1.95 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.68. Caterpillar had a return on equity of 23.22% and a net margin of 2.09%. The business had revenue of $11.41 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.69 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.85 EPS. Caterpillar’s quarterly revenue was up 24.6% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts expect that Caterpillar will post 6.47 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, February 20th. Stockholders of record on Monday, January 22nd will be issued a $0.78 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, January 19th. This represents a $3.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.83%. Caterpillar’s payout ratio is presently 216.67%.

In related news, insider Lange Bob De sold 1,572 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $137.58, for a total transaction of $216,275.76. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 11,096 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,526,587.68. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO Bradley M. Halverson sold 17,210 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $137.33, for a total value of $2,363,449.30. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 7,814 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,073,096.62. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 52,989 shares of company stock valued at $7,235,850. 0.14% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Winslow Evans & Crocker Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Caterpillar by 244.8% in the 4th quarter. Winslow Evans & Crocker Inc. now owns 5,310 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $836,000 after buying an additional 3,770 shares in the last quarter. V Wealth Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Caterpillar by 92.5% in the 4th quarter. V Wealth Management LLC now owns 9,044 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $1,532,000 after buying an additional 4,346 shares in the last quarter. TRUE Private Wealth Advisors acquired a new position in shares of Caterpillar in the 4th quarter worth approximately $355,000. Bender Robert & Associates acquired a new position in shares of Caterpillar in the 4th quarter worth approximately $223,000. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue raised its holdings in shares of Caterpillar by 779.7% in the 4th quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 60,006 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $9,454,000 after buying an additional 53,185 shares in the last quarter. 68.55% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Caterpillar

Caterpillar Inc is a manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The Company operates through segments, including Construction Industries, which is engaged in supporting customers using machinery in infrastructure, forestry and building construction; Resource Industries, which is engaged in supporting customers using machinery in mining, quarry, waste and material handling applications; Energy & Transportation, which supports customers in oil and gas, power generation, marine, rail and industrial applications, including Cat machines; Financial Products segment, which provides financing and related services, and All Other operating segments, which includes activities, such as product management and development, and manufacturing of filters and fluids, undercarriage, tires and rims, ground engaging tools, fluid transfer products, and sealing and connecting components for Cat products.

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