Graco Inc. (NYSE:GGG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Graco Inc. supplies technology and expertise for the management of fluids in both industrial and commercial settings. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Graco serves customers around the world in the manufacturing, processing, construction and maintenance industries. It designs, manu-factures and markets systems and equipment to move, measure, control, dispense and apply fluid materials. The Company helps customers solve difficult manufacturing problems, increase productivity, improve quality, conserve energy, and save expensive materials. “

A number of other research analysts have also issued reports on the company. William Blair lowered Graco from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and reduced their price objective for the company from $89.00 to $78.00 in a research report on Thursday, July 21st. Deutsche Bank AG began coverage on Graco in a research report on Tuesday, September 6th. They set a “hold” rating and a $83.00 price target for the company. Finally, KeyCorp began coverage on Graco in a research report on Wednesday, May 25th. They set a “sector weight” rating for the company. Nine research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, Graco currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $83.75.

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Shares of Graco (NYSE:GGG) traded down 1.01% on Tuesday, hitting $73.16. The stock had a trading volume of 200,012 shares. Graco has a 12-month low of $63.05 and a 12-month high of $86.62. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $73.94 and its 200 day moving average price is $78.66. The firm has a market cap of $4.07 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.56 and a beta of 1.54.

Graco (NYSE:GGG) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $0.89 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.11. Graco had a net margin of 15.01% and a return on equity of 30.04%. The company had revenue of $348.10 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $352.49 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.05 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Graco will post $3.37 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 2nd. Stockholders of record on Monday, October 17th will be paid a $0.33 dividend. This represents a $1.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.80%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 13th. Graco’s dividend payout ratio is presently 38.94%.

In other news, insider Patrick J. Mchale sold 11,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.19, for a total value of $853,185.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 142,230 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $10,552,043.70. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. 5.60% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of GGG. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC increased its stake in Graco by 1.0% in the second quarter. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC now owns 9,601 shares of the company’s stock worth $758,000 after buying an additional 91 shares in the last quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Graco during the second quarter worth about $2,003,000. Royal Bank of Canada raised its stake in shares of Graco by 140.2% in the second quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 71,837 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,674,000 after buying an additional 41,924 shares during the period. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio raised its stake in shares of Graco by 0.9% in the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 138,913 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,973,000 after buying an additional 1,294 shares during the period. Finally, Lebenthal Holdings LLC raised its stake in shares of Graco by 304.8% in the second quarter. Lebenthal Holdings LLC now owns 21,140 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,670,000 after buying an additional 15,918 shares during the period. 90.60% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Graco Company Profile

Graco Inc (Graco) is a manufacturing company. The Company designs, manufactures and markets equipment to pump, meter, mix and dispense fluid and powder materials. The Company operates through three segments: Industrial, Process and Contractor. The Industrial segment markets equipment and pre-engineered packages for moving and applying paints, coatings, sealants, adhesives and other fluids.

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