Caterpillar, Inc. (CAT) Downgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Caterpillar, Inc. (NYSE:CAT) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Caterpillar’s May sales rose 8%, an improvement from 1% growth witnessed in the last two months thanks to continual improvement in Asia Pacific. It remains to be seen whether this momentum will be sustained as even though commodity prices have improved lately, it is not sufficient to drive a relevant increase in short-term demand for new equipment. Caterpillar guides revenues in the range of $38–$41 billion and earnings of $3.75 per share for 2017, a 2% and 10% year–over-year growth, respectively. In construction, Asia Pacific is showing promise while leading indicators of U.S. construction signal robust conditions ahead. The company’s efforts to reduce costs will help boost margins. Year to date, the stock has outperformed the Zacks sub industry. Also, it has a positive record of earnings surprises. However, the pending tax probe remains an overhang on the stock.”

Several other brokerages also recently issued reports on CAT. Axiom Securities reiterated a sell rating on shares of Caterpillar in a research note on Tuesday, June 6th. Raymond James Financial, Inc. upgraded shares of Caterpillar to a buy rating and set a $55.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Thursday, April 27th. Bank of America Corporation upgraded shares of Caterpillar from a neutral rating to a buy rating and upped their target price for the stock from $105.00 to $120.00 in a research note on Thursday, May 11th. Vetr upgraded shares of Caterpillar from a strong sell rating to a sell rating and set a $90.53 target price on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, May 2nd. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a hold rating and issued a $85.00 target price on shares of Caterpillar in a research note on Friday, March 3rd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have given a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $96.76.

Caterpillar (NYSE CAT) traded up 2.04% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $106.05. 1,854,974 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm’s market cap is $62.47 billion. Caterpillar has a 52-week low of $70.53 and a 52-week high of $108.18. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $103.50 and its 200 day moving average is $97.23.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, April 25th. The industrial products company reported $1.28 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.62 by $0.66. The firm had revenue of $9.82 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.27 billion. Caterpillar had a negative net margin of 0.38% and a positive return on equity of 16.46%. The business’s revenue was up 3.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.67 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that Caterpillar will post $4.13 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, August 19th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, July 20th will be issued a dividend of $0.78 per share. This is a boost from Caterpillar’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.77. This represents a $3.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.00%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, July 18th. Caterpillar’s dividend payout ratio is currently -1,140.70%.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Howe & Rusling Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Caterpillar by 52.0% in the first quarter. Howe & Rusling Inc. now owns 1,087 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $101,000 after buying an additional 372 shares in the last quarter. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Caterpillar during the first quarter worth about $107,000. First Personal Financial Services boosted its stake in shares of Caterpillar by 167.4% in the first quarter. First Personal Financial Services now owns 1,198 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 750 shares during the period. Harfst & Associates Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Caterpillar during the first quarter worth about $111,000. Finally, Financial Architects Inc boosted its stake in shares of Caterpillar by 5.7% in the first quarter. Financial Architects Inc now owns 1,215 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $113,000 after buying an additional 65 shares during the period. 70.68% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Caterpillar

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Analyst Recommendations for Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT)

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