Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Thursday morning. They currently have $186.00 target price on the industrial products company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “In the last three months, Illinois Tool Works' shares have outperformed the industry. We believe that the company is well positioned to benefit from its solid product portfolio, strengthening foothold in various end markets and strategic initiatives to improve margins. From 2018 to 2022, the company expects organic revenue growth to be in the 3-5% range, operating margin to be in excess of 25% and earnings per share to grow 8-10% in each year. In addition, it initiated its financial guidance for 2018, anticipating GAAP earnings to be within $7.05-$7.25 per share. Organic revenue growth is predicted to be within 3-4% and operating margin to be 25-25.5%. The projections for 2017 have been reaffirmed, with earnings per share still anticipated to be $6.62-$6.72. Earnings estimates on the stock improved for both 2017 (results not yet released) and 2018 in the last 60 days.”

Several other research firms have also commented on ITW. Jefferies Group reissued a buy rating and issued a $190.00 price target on shares of Illinois Tool Works in a research report on Wednesday, November 29th. Wells Fargo & Co set a $190.00 price target on Illinois Tool Works and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Monday, December 4th. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on Illinois Tool Works from $147.00 to $151.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. Royal Bank of Canada boosted their price target on Illinois Tool Works from $143.00 to $155.00 and gave the stock a sector perform rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reduced their price target on Illinois Tool Works from $162.00 to $158.00 and set a hold rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $166.13.

Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) traded up $1.54 on Thursday, hitting $167.57. The stock had a trading volume of 2,290,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,250,000. The company has a market cap of $57,410.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.70, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.28 and a beta of 1.18. The company has a current ratio of 2.41, a quick ratio of 1.98 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.48. Illinois Tool Works has a 52-week low of $120.06 and a 52-week high of $169.69.

Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) last released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, October 23rd. The industrial products company reported $1.85 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.65 by $0.20. The firm had revenue of $3.62 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.57 billion. Illinois Tool Works had a return on equity of 47.21% and a net margin of 16.12%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.50 EPS. research analysts forecast that Illinois Tool Works will post 6.7 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 10th. Investors of record on Friday, December 29th will be paid a dividend of $0.78 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 28th. This represents a $3.12 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.86%. Illinois Tool Works’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 47.85%.

In related news, insider John R. Hartnett sold 6,533 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, October 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $155.00, for a total transaction of $1,012,615.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 18,622 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,886,410. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Juan Valls sold 48,622 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, October 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $156.73, for a total value of $7,620,526.06. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 71,101 shares in the company, valued at $11,143,659.73. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 214,791 shares of company stock worth $34,665,964. 0.90% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Omnia Family Wealth LLC grew its stake in Illinois Tool Works by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Omnia Family Wealth LLC now owns 747 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $107,000 after purchasing an additional 2 shares during the last quarter. Private Vista LLC grew its stake in Illinois Tool Works by 13,697.3% during the 2nd quarter. Private Vista LLC now owns 279,534 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $108,000 after purchasing an additional 277,508 shares during the last quarter. Harding Loevner LP purchased a new stake in Illinois Tool Works during the 2nd quarter valued at about $115,000. WFG Advisors LP grew its stake in Illinois Tool Works by 24.7% during the 2nd quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 812 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $116,000 after purchasing an additional 161 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Salem Investment Counselors Inc. grew its stake in Illinois Tool Works by 1.9% during the 2nd quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. now owns 900 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $129,000 after purchasing an additional 17 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.70% of the company’s stock.

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About Illinois Tool Works

Illinois Tool Works Inc is a manufacturer of industrial products and equipment. The Company operates through seven segments. The Automotive OEM segment produces components and fasteners for automotive-related applications. The Food Equipment segment offers commercial food equipment. The Test & Measurement and Electronics segment produces test and measurement, and electronic manufacturing and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) solutions.

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