W. R. Grace & Co (NYSE:GRA) Upgraded to Hold by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of W. R. Grace & Co (NYSE:GRA) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “W. R. Grace & Co. produces specialty chemicals. They primarily operate through the following two business segments: Davison Chemicals and Performance Chemicals. Davison Chemicals manufactures catalysts (fluid cracking, hydroprocessing and polyolein) and silica and zeolite absorbents. Performance Chemicals produces specialty construction and building materials, along with container and closure sealants. “

Several other analysts have also recently issued reports on GRA. Robert W. Baird set a $81.00 target price on W. R. Grace & Co and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, July 26th. ValuEngine cut W. R. Grace & Co from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Saturday, July 27th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets set a $83.00 target price on W. R. Grace & Co and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, July 26th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the stock. W. R. Grace & Co presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $85.50.

Shares of NYSE:GRA opened at $64.78 on Wednesday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.01, a current ratio of 1.48 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 5.06. The business has a fifty day moving average of $72.96 and a two-hundred day moving average of $74.81. The stock has a market cap of $4.32 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.65, a PEG ratio of 1.20 and a beta of 1.02. W. R. Grace & Co has a 52-week low of $59.22 and a 52-week high of $79.71.

W. R. Grace & Co (NYSE:GRA) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, July 25th. The specialty chemicals company reported $1.16 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $513.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $508.65 million. W. R. Grace & Co had a return on equity of 85.42% and a net margin of 9.31%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.07 EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that W. R. Grace & Co will post 4.39 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 5th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, August 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.27 per share. This represents a $1.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.67%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, August 14th. W. R. Grace & Co’s dividend payout ratio is presently 26.09%.

In other W. R. Grace & Co news, insider Force Andrew Hudson La III purchased 4,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 1st. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $69.04 per share, for a total transaction of $276,160.00. Following the acquisition, the insider now owns 96,391 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,654,834.64. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, major shareholder North Latitude Fund Lp 40 purchased 198,096 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 14th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $63.42 per share, with a total value of $12,563,248.32. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have bought 227,799 shares of company stock valued at $14,511,090. Company insiders own 2.00% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in W. R. Grace & Co by 5.1% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 623,801 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $40,490,000 after acquiring an additional 30,216 shares during the period. Highland Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in W. R. Grace & Co during the 1st quarter valued at about $1,173,000. James Investment Research Inc. purchased a new position in W. R. Grace & Co during the 1st quarter valued at about $680,000. Private Capital Group LLC boosted its holdings in W. R. Grace & Co by 24.9% during the 1st quarter. Private Capital Group LLC now owns 1,249 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $97,000 after acquiring an additional 249 shares during the period. Finally, Neuberger Berman Group LLC boosted its holdings in W. R. Grace & Co by 7.0% during the 1st quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 1,032,072 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $80,543,000 after acquiring an additional 67,442 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 85.84% of the company’s stock.

About W. R. Grace & Co

W. R. Grace & Co produces and sells specialty chemicals and materials worldwide. It operates through two segments, Grace Catalysts Technologies and Grace Materials Technologies. The Grace Catalysts Technologies segment offers fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts for the production of transportation fuels, such as gasoline and diesel fuels, and petrochemicals; FCC additives; and methanol-to-olefins catalysts for the conversion of methanol into petrochemical feeds, including ethylene and propylene.

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