Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Thursday morning. They currently have $98.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Caterpillar is poised to benefit from the steady growth in construction activities. Asia Pacific is improving consistently, logging a 12% increase in Aug, the best performance this year and marking its sixth consecutive month of growth.  The EAME construction industry has also witnessed positive growth in three of the past four months. Also, leading indicators of U.S. non-residential construction signal robust conditions ahead for the domestic construction industry. In line with its efforts to cut down costs, reduce capacity in the wake of lower demand, Caterpillar is shifting production from its Belgium facility. This, along with other restructuring actions as well as share repurchases will help the mining behemoth to weather the weak mining environment. Also, the company has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters.”

CAT has been the subject of several other research reports. Vetr raised Caterpillar from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $85.19 price objective for the company in a report on Tuesday, September 13th. Axiom Securities reissued a sell rating on shares of Caterpillar in a report on Tuesday, August 30th. Deutsche Bank AG began coverage on Caterpillar in a report on Monday, September 12th. They issued a buy rating and a $82.08 price objective for the company. Bank of America Corp. reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $92.00 price target on shares of Caterpillar in a report on Monday, October 3rd. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co. reaffirmed a market perform rating and set a $78.50 price target on shares of Caterpillar in a report on Tuesday, August 23rd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $76.48.

Analyst Recommendations for Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT)

Shares of Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) traded up 0.92% during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $87.77. 1,731,031 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock has a market cap of $51.28 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 58.51 and a beta of 1.54. Caterpillar has a 52-week low of $56.36 and a 52-week high of $89.87. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $84.22 and a 200-day moving average of $78.93.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $1.09 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.13. The company earned $10.34 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.06 billion. Caterpillar had a return on equity of 12.37% and a net margin of 2.64%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 16.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.27 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Caterpillar will post $3.50 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, November 19th. Investors of record on Monday, October 24th will be issued a dividend of $0.77 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 20th. This represents a $3.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.54%. Caterpillar’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 165.59%.

In related news, insider Bradley M. Halverson sold 2,841 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $82.73, for a total transaction of $235,035.93. Following the sale, the insider now owns 20,232 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,673,793.36. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Dennis A. Muilenburg acquired 1,930 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 29th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $82.75 per share, for a total transaction of $159,707.50. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 9,558 shares in the company, valued at approximately $790,924.50. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.15% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. boosted its stake in shares of Caterpillar by 2.0% in the first quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 305,113 shares of the company’s stock worth $20,656,000 after buying an additional 5,900 shares during the period. Primecap Management Co. CA raised its position in shares of Caterpillar by 2.2% in the first quarter. Primecap Management Co. CA now owns 6,219,249 shares of the company’s stock worth $476,021,000 after buying an additional 135,248 shares in the last quarter. Scotia Capital Inc. raised its position in shares of Caterpillar by 26.7% in the first quarter. Scotia Capital Inc. now owns 51,971 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,980,000 after buying an additional 10,946 shares in the last quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Caterpillar during the first quarter worth $383,000. Finally, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. raised its position in shares of Caterpillar by 1.1% in the first quarter. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. now owns 21,017,733 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,608,697,000 after buying an additional 220,600 shares in the last quarter. 69.03% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Caterpillar Company Profile

Caterpillar Inc is a manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The Company operates through its three product segments: Resource Industries, Construction Industries, and Energy & Transportation. It also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:CAT

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