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

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 equities analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. William Blair downgraded shares of Graco from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and dropped their target price for the stock from $89.00 to $78.00 in a research note on Thursday, July 21st. Deutsche Bank AG started coverage on shares of Graco in a research note on Tuesday, September 6th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $83.00 target price for the company. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and eight have given a hold rating to the company’s stock. Graco presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $83.75.

Analyst Recommendations for Graco (NYSE:GGG)

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Shares of Graco (NYSE:GGG) traded up 0.43% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $70.40. 370,844 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.92 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.75 and a beta of 1.51. Graco has a 12-month low of $63.05 and a 12-month high of $86.62. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $73.84 and its 200 day moving average is $77.75.

Graco (NYSE:GGG) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $0.89 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.11. Graco had a return on equity of 30.04% and a net margin of 15.01%. The company earned $348.10 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $352.49 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.05 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 3.8% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Graco will post $3.37 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 2nd. Stockholders of record on Monday, October 17th will be given a dividend of $0.33 per share. This represents a $1.32 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.88%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 13th. Graco’s dividend payout ratio is 38.94%.

In other news, insider Patrick J. Mchale sold 11,500 shares of Graco stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.19, for a total transaction of $853,185.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 142,230 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,552,043.70. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Insiders own 5.60% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Eagle Asset Management boosted its stake in shares of Graco by 94.9% in the third quarter. Eagle Asset Management now owns 47,656 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,194,000 after buying an additional 23,200 shares in the last quarter. Assetmark purchased a new position in shares of Graco during the third quarter worth about $0. Curbstone Financial Management boosted its position in shares of Graco by 98.4% in the fourth quarter. Curbstone Financial Management now owns 9,102 shares of the company’s stock worth $656,000 after buying an additional 4,514 shares in the last quarter. Montrusco Bolton Investments boosted its position in shares of Graco by 36.5% in the fourth quarter. Montrusco Bolton Investments now owns 157,400 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,295,000 after buying an additional 42,080 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Fenimore Asset Management boosted its position in shares of Graco by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. Fenimore Asset Management now owns 380,914 shares of the company’s stock worth $27,452,000 after buying an additional 2,950 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 90.60% of the company’s stock.

About Graco

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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