Praxair (NYSE:PX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Thursday.

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.”

PX has been the subject of a number of other reports. SunTrust Banks restated a “buy” rating and issued a $162.00 price target on shares of Praxair in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Citigroup upgraded Praxair from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price target for the stock from $137.00 to $168.00 in a research report on Monday, October 30th. Deutsche Bank upgraded Praxair from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price target for the stock from $155.00 to $175.00 in a research report on Tuesday, December 19th. UBS Group raised their price target on Praxair to $176.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, December 15th. Finally, Susquehanna Bancshares raised their price target on Praxair from $155.00 to $175.00 in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $159.86.

Praxair (PX) traded down $1.54 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $161.92. The stock had a trading volume of 1,003,149 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,997,236. The company has a quick ratio of 0.91, a current ratio of 1.11 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.22. The company has a market cap of $46,780.00, a P/E ratio of 28.81, a P/E/G ratio of 2.23 and a beta of 1.00. Praxair has a 52-week low of $115.53 and a 52-week high of $166.08.

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

In other Praxair news, Director Raymond W. Leboeuf sold 6,550 shares of the stock in a transaction 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 sale, the director now owns 16,697 shares in the company, valued at $1,957,890.22. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.23% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC grew its stake in Praxair by 149.8% in the third quarter. Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC now owns 717 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $100,000 after purchasing an additional 430 shares during the last quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC grew its stake in Praxair by 19.1% in the second quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 768 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $100,000 after purchasing an additional 123 shares during the last quarter. BB&T Investment Services Inc. purchased a new position in Praxair in the second quarter valued at about $106,000. Exane Derivatives purchased a new position in Praxair in the second quarter valued at about $109,000. Finally, Tortoise Investment Management LLC grew its stake in Praxair by 3.9% in the second quarter. Tortoise Investment Management LLC now owns 831 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $110,000 after purchasing an additional 31 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 85.51% 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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