Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Praxair (NYSE:PX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Monday.

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.”

Several other equities research analysts have also recently commented on PX. Citigroup raised Praxair from a neutral rating to a buy rating and raised their target price for the stock from $137.00 to $168.00 in a research note on Monday, October 30th. UBS Group raised their target price on Praxair from $150.00 to $160.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Susquehanna Bancshares raised their target price on Praxair from $155.00 to $175.00 in a research note on Tuesday, November 7th. Barclays raised their target price on Praxair from $140.00 to $160.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Deutsche Bank raised 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. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company. Praxair currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $159.86.

Shares of Praxair (NYSE:PX) traded down $0.26 on Monday, hitting $162.62. The stock had a trading volume of 2,416,800 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,830,328. Praxair has a 52 week low of $115.10 and a 52 week high of $164.49. The company has a market capitalization of $46,850.00, a P/E ratio of 28.94, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 1.00. The company has a quick ratio of 0.91, a current ratio of 1.11 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.22.

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

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 7th were issued a $0.7875 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, December 6th. This represents a $3.15 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.94%. Praxair’s dividend payout ratio is presently 56.05%.

In other news, Director Raymond W. Leboeuf sold 6,550 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $117.26, for a total value of $768,053.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 16,697 shares in the company, valued at $1,957,890.22. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.23% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. lifted its holdings in Praxair by 0.5% during the second quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. now owns 2,418 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $321,000 after acquiring an additional 13 shares during the period. Elkhorn Investments LLC raised its stake in shares of Praxair by 0.3% in the second quarter. Elkhorn Investments LLC now owns 9,265 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,206,000 after buying an additional 31 shares during the period. Peapack Gladstone Financial Corp raised its stake in shares of Praxair by 1.3% in the second quarter. Peapack Gladstone Financial Corp now owns 4,576 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $607,000 after buying an additional 58 shares during the period. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. raised its stake in shares of Praxair by 7.0% in the second quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 916 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $121,000 after buying an additional 60 shares during the period. Finally, AMG Funds LLC raised its stake in shares of Praxair by 0.3% in the second quarter. AMG Funds LLC now owns 22,721 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $3,012,000 after buying an additional 72 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 85.48% of the company’s stock.

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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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