Baxter International (BAX) Cut to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Friday.

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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BAX has been the subject of several other research reports. Bank of America raised Baxter International from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 2nd. Evercore ISI started coverage on Baxter International in a research note on Wednesday, January 3rd. They issued an outperform rating and a $71.00 target price for the company. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $72.00 target price on shares of Baxter International in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on Baxter International from $74.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, ValuEngine lowered Baxter International from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 7th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $70.93.

Shares of NYSE BAX opened at $63.89 on Friday. Baxter International has a 12 month low of $52.27 and a 12 month high of $72.58. The company has a quick ratio of 2.05, a current ratio of 2.57 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38. The stock has a market cap of $34,509.48, a PE ratio of 25.76, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.74 and a beta of 0.80.

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

Baxter International announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback plan 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. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 2nd were given a $0.16 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 1st. This represents a $0.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.00%. Baxter International’s payout ratio is currently 25.81%.

In other Baxter International news, Director Peter S. Hellman sold 3,760 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 2nd. The stock was 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 in the company, valued at $1,652,294.28. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director James R. Gavin III sold 18,750 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.56, for a total value of $1,210,500.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 36,398 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,349,854.88. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 27,500 shares of company stock valued at $1,783,512 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC raised its holdings in shares of Baxter International by 16.5% during the fourth quarter. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC now owns 5,464 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $353,000 after acquiring an additional 774 shares in the last quarter. DnB Asset Management AS raised its holdings in shares of Baxter International by 1.7% during the fourth quarter. DnB Asset Management AS now owns 54,428 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $3,518,000 after acquiring an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale raised its holdings in shares of Baxter International by 0.5% during the fourth quarter. DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale now owns 185,750 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $11,508,000 after acquiring an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. Goelzer Investment Management Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Baxter International by 13.6% during the fourth quarter. Goelzer Investment Management Inc. now owns 7,677 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $496,000 after acquiring an additional 922 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Baird Financial Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Baxter International by 0.8% during the fourth quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. now owns 113,681 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $7,348,000 after acquiring an additional 952 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 85.55% of the company’s stock.

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About Baxter International

Baxter International Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides renal and hospital products. The Company operates through two segments: Hospital Products and Renal. Its Hospital Products business manufactures sterile intravenous (IV) solutions and administration sets, premixed drugs and drug-reconstitution systems, pre-filled vials and syringes for injectable drugs, IV nutrition products, parenteral nutrition therapies, infusion pumps, inhalation anesthetics and biosurgery products.

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