Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Graco Inc. (GGG) to “Buy”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Graco Inc. (NYSE:GGG) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Monday, July 31st. Zacks Investment Research currently has $127.00 price target on the industrial products company’s stock.

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 firms have also recently weighed in on GGG. TheStreet upgraded Graco from a c+ rating to a b+ rating in a research note on Thursday, April 27th. Wolfe Research upgraded Graco from an underperform rating to a peer perform rating and set a $100.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a hold rating and set a $104.00 target price on shares of Graco in a research report on Friday, April 28th. FBR & Co reiterated a marketperform rating on shares of Graco in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Finally, BidaskClub cut Graco from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, June 22nd. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $106.20.

Shares of Graco (GGG) opened at 112.37 on Monday. The stock has a market capitalization of $6.29 billion, a PE ratio of 71.30 and a beta of 1.25. Graco has a 52-week low of $69.33 and a 52-week high of $116.75. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $111.29 and its 200 day moving average price is $103.25.

Graco (NYSE:GGG) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The industrial products company reported $1.38 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.06 by $0.32. Graco had a return on equity of 40.21% and a net margin of 6.50%. The company had revenue of $379.50 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $369.36 million. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.89 earnings per share. Graco’s quarterly revenue was up 9.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Graco will post $4.53 EPS for the current year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, August 2nd. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 17th were given a dividend of $0.36 per share. This represents a $1.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.28%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, July 13th. Graco’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 92.90%.

In related news, VP Karen Park Gallivan sold 12,242 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $115.00, for a total transaction of $1,407,830.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 27,264 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,135,360. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Peter J. O’shea sold 15,986 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $113.50, for a total value of $1,814,411.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 20,638 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,342,413. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 119,021 shares of company stock worth $6,483,384. Corporate insiders own 5.70% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its position in Graco by 5.5% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 346,915 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $28,826,000 after buying an additional 18,120 shares in the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC raised its position in Graco by 5.3% in the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 58,189 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $4,835,000 after buying an additional 2,950 shares in the last quarter. Park National Corp OH bought a new position in Graco during the first quarter worth about $203,000. Confluence Investment Management LLC raised its position in Graco by 2.0% in the first quarter. Confluence Investment Management LLC now owns 891,060 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $83,884,000 after buying an additional 17,235 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Creative Planning raised its position in Graco by 5.4% in the first quarter. Creative Planning now owns 1,496 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $141,000 after buying an additional 76 shares in the last quarter. 90.10% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Graco Company Profile

Graco Inc designs, manufactures and markets systems and equipment used to move, measure, control, dispense and spray fluid and powder materials. The Company specializes in equipment for applications that involve materials with viscosities, materials with abrasive or corrosive properties, and multiple-component materials that require ratio control.

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