Becton, Dickinson and Company (NYSE:BDX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Over the past year, Becton, Dickinson and Company, popularly known as BD, has outperformed the broader industry trends with respect to price performance. The company is steadily progressing with its planned acquisition of medical technology player, C. R. Bard. The $24-billion transaction is slated to be completed in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. Post completion, BD expects growth in adjusted earnings starting fiscal 2019. We view the acquisition as a strategic fit which will generate benefits from complementary businesses and geographical expansion. BD's cost-control initiatives are also noteworthy. On the flipside, unfavorable sales performance from the BD Medical segment is a concern in the near term. Performance in the segment was affected by sluggishness in the Medication Management Solutions and Pharmaceutical Systems units in the U.S.”

BDX has been the subject of several other research reports. Bank of America Corporation restated a “buy” rating and issued a $225.00 price objective (up previously from $200.00) on shares of Becton, Dickinson and in a report on Friday, July 21st. Piper Jaffray Companies restated a “buy” rating and issued a $213.00 price objective on shares of Becton, Dickinson and in a report on Tuesday, September 12th. BidaskClub upgraded Becton, Dickinson and from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, August 14th. Cowen and Company restated a “buy” rating and issued a $230.00 price objective on shares of Becton, Dickinson and in a report on Monday, August 14th. Finally, Barclays PLC restated an “equal weight” rating and issued a $210.00 price objective (up previously from $205.00) on shares of Becton, Dickinson and in a report on Thursday, August 10th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $200.93.

Becton, Dickinson and (BDX) traded up 1.18% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $211.82. The company had a trading volume of 469,423 shares. The stock has a market cap of $48.20 billion, a PE ratio of 61.34 and a beta of 1.05. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $197.93 and its 200-day moving average price is $193.62. Becton, Dickinson and has a 12 month low of $161.29 and a 12 month high of $211.93.

Becton, Dickinson and (NYSE:BDX) last released its earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The medical instruments supplier reported $2.46 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.44 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $3.04 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.06 billion. Becton, Dickinson and had a return on equity of 22.53% and a net margin of 6.25%. The company’s revenue was down 5.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $2.35 EPS. Equities research analysts forecast that Becton, Dickinson and will post $9.46 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, insider Thomas E. Polen, Jr. sold 5,971 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $197.41, for a total value of $1,178,735.11. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 12,861 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,538,890.01. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Ellen R. Strahlman sold 9,283 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $198.21, for a total transaction of $1,839,983.43. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 26,638 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,279,917.98. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 75,904 shares of company stock valued at $15,242,688 over the last quarter. 1.40% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC lifted its stake in Becton, Dickinson and by 35.3% in the 2nd quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC now owns 43,293 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $8,447,000 after purchasing an additional 11,300 shares during the last quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. lifted its position in Becton, Dickinson and by 1.4% during the second quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 978,050 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $190,827,000 after acquiring an additional 13,263 shares during the last quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. lifted its position in Becton, Dickinson and by 9.3% during the second quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 246,404 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $46,627,000 after acquiring an additional 21,022 shares during the last quarter. Union Bankshares Corp lifted its position in Becton, Dickinson and by 1.7% during the second quarter. Union Bankshares Corp now owns 22,335 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $4,357,000 after acquiring an additional 381 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue lifted its position in Becton, Dickinson and by 5.8% during the second quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 32,999 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $6,438,000 after acquiring an additional 1,819 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 87.12% of the company’s stock.

About Becton, Dickinson and

Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) is a global medical technology company engaged in the development, manufacture and sale of a range of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment and diagnostic products. The Company operates through two segments: BD Medical and BD Life Sciences. The BD Medical segment produces an array of medical technologies and devices that are used to help improve healthcare delivery in a range of settings.

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