Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday. The firm currently has a $69.00 target price on the medical instruments supplier’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 11.81% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Over the past year, Baxter has outperformed the broader industry in terms of price performance. The company rides on the recent launch of DeviceVue, a comprehensive asset tracking solution available exclusively to hospitals. However, lower cyclophosphamide sales in the coming quarters might mar the Baxter’s bottom line. Of the major positives, a favorable product mix, stringent cost control and expanding operating margin are notable. Baxter reported impressive results in the second quarter, driven by favorable tidings on the regulatory front, strategic partnerships and product launches. The company recently completed the acquisition of Claris Injectables. Solid U.S. sales of IV therapies, IV access sets, select anesthesia and critical care products are key catalysts at the moment. On the flipside, a strong U.S. dollar, intensifying competition and lackluster sales growth are key concerns at the moment.”

Several other brokerages also recently issued reports on BAX. Cantor Fitzgerald set a $70.00 price objective on Baxter International and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 26th. BMO Capital Markets upgraded Baxter International from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $55.00 to $70.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. UBS AG upped their price objective on Baxter International from $57.00 to $62.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “hold” rating and issued a $60.00 price objective on shares of Baxter International in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Finally, Citigroup Inc. started coverage on Baxter International in a research report on Thursday, August 17th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $63.00 price objective on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Baxter International currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $65.69.

Baxter International (NYSE BAX) traded up 0.42% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $61.71. 2,264,863 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Baxter International has a one year low of $43.13 and a one year high of $64.75. The company’s 50-day moving average is $62.78 and its 200 day moving average is $59.18. The firm has a market capitalization of $33.62 billion, a P/E ratio of 37.45 and a beta of 0.65.

Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 26th. The medical instruments supplier reported $0.63 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.57 by $0.06. Baxter International had a return on equity of 14.82% and a net margin of 8.85%. The business had revenue of $2.61 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.59 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.46 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up .8% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts predict that Baxter International will post $2.39 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, Director Thomas T. Stallkamp sold 8,920 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.28, for a total transaction of $555,537.60. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 16,263 shares in the company, valued at $1,012,859.64. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Carole J. Shapazian sold 4,020 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.61, for a total value of $247,672.20. Following the transaction, the director now owns 13,868 shares in the company, valued at $854,407.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 35,050 shares of company stock worth $2,158,587 over the last quarter. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in BAX. Levin Capital Strategies L.P. lifted its position in Baxter International by 2.4% during the first quarter. Levin Capital Strategies L.P. now owns 59,879 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $3,105,000 after buying an additional 1,400 shares during the period. GHP Investment Advisors Inc. lifted its position in Baxter International by 1.7% during the first quarter. GHP Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 12,979 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $673,000 after buying an additional 215 shares during the period. Hillsdale Investment Management Inc. lifted its position in Baxter International by 3.1% during the first quarter. Hillsdale Investment Management Inc. now owns 6,700 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $347,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the period. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC lifted its position in Baxter International by 74.8% during the first quarter. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC now owns 98,256 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $5,096,000 after buying an additional 42,044 shares during the period. Finally, South State Corp lifted its position in Baxter International by 1.8% during the first quarter. South State Corp now owns 9,395 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $487,000 after buying an additional 165 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 83.62% of the company’s stock.

About Baxter International

Baxter International Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides renal and hospital products. The Company operates through two segments: Hospital Products and Renal. Its Hospital Products business manufactures sterile intravenous (IV) solutions and administration sets, premixed drugs and drug-reconstitution systems, pre-filled vials and syringes for injectable drugs, IV nutrition products, parenteral nutrition therapies, infusion pumps, inhalation anesthetics and biosurgery products.

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