Baxter International (BAX) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Wednesday, April 11th. They currently have $74.00 price objective on the medical instruments supplier’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Baxter has outperformed its industry in a year's time. The company got FDA approval of Bivalirudin in 0.9 percent Sodium Chloride Injection recently. Further, Baxter announced U.S. launch of the Arisure Closed System Transfer device. In acute therapies, Baxter launched the first 3-in-1 oXIRIS set for continuous renal replacement therapy and sepsis management protocols. Latest strategic buyouts of RECOTHORM and PREVELEAK also deserve mention. On the flip side, Baxter expects its pharmaceutical business to be flat on a year-over-year basis in 2018 due to increased competition for select products in the segment. Further, foreign currency headwinds and intense competition have been dampening the company’s performance since long. Baxter’s cyclophosphamide performance over the last five years has lacked luster for the most part. Lower cyclophosphamide sales pose threats to the Integrated Pharmacy Solutions franchise business.”

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Other equities analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Citigroup lifted their target price on shares of Baxter International from $66.00 to $70.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a report on Tuesday, February 6th. Barclays lifted their target price on shares of Baxter International from $73.00 to $77.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Deutsche Bank raised shares of Baxter International from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $80.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, February 20th. JPMorgan Chase raised shares of Baxter International from a neutral rating to an overweight rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 2nd. Finally, Raymond James raised shares of Baxter International from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $73.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, January 3rd. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $71.13.

NYSE:BAX opened at $66.98 on Wednesday. The company has a current ratio of 2.57, a quick ratio of 2.05 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38. The firm has a market cap of $36,308.13, a P/E ratio of 27.01, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.83 and a beta of 0.80. Baxter International has a twelve month low of $52.38 and a twelve month high of $72.58.

Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The medical instruments supplier reported $0.64 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $2.77 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.77 billion. Baxter International had a net margin of 6.79% and a return on equity of 15.11%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 4.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.57 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that Baxter International will post 2.78 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 2nd. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 2nd were given a $0.16 dividend. This represents a $0.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.96%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 1st. Baxter International’s payout ratio is currently 25.81%.

Baxter International announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Tuesday, February 20th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.50 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the medical instruments supplier to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, Director Peter S. Hellman sold 3,760 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.74, for a total value of $243,422.40. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 25,522 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,652,294.28. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Carole J. Shapazian sold 4,990 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.05, for a total transaction of $329,589.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 27,500 shares of company stock valued at $1,783,512 in the last three months. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Sawyer & Company Inc bought a new stake in shares of Baxter International during the 4th quarter valued at about $327,000. Maverick Capital Ltd. grew its position in shares of Baxter International by 91.4% during the 4th quarter. Maverick Capital Ltd. now owns 108,210 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $6,995,000 after buying an additional 51,670 shares during the last quarter. BancorpSouth Bank bought a new stake in shares of Baxter International during the 4th quarter valued at about $693,000. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. grew its position in shares of Baxter International by 1.7% during the 4th quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 2,673,665 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $172,880,000 after buying an additional 44,117 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue grew its position in shares of Baxter International by 103.3% during the 4th quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 84,820 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $5,481,000 after buying an additional 43,089 shares during the last quarter. 85.52% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Baxter International

Baxter International Inc provides a portfolio of healthcare products. The company operates through North and South America; Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia-Pacific segments. It offers peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis, and additional dialysis therapies and services; renal replacement therapies and other organ support therapies focused in the intensive care unit; sterile intravenous (IV) solutions, IV therapies, infusion pumps, administration sets, and drug reconstitution devices; and parenteral nutrition therapies.

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