Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE:ITW) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Over the long run, Illinois Tool's organic and inorganic growth tactics, its long-term Enterprise Strategy and sound capital allocation schemes will likely prove beneficial. In August, the company hiked its quarterly dividend rate by 18%. For 2016, the company increased its earnings guidance to $5.50-$5.70 from the previous expectation of $5.40-$5.60 per share. Operating margin is expected to exceed 22.5%, including more than 100 bps contribution from enterprise initiatives. However, the company is exposed to headwinds including unfavorable foreign currency movements, industry rivalry, volatilities in input price & supply and economic uncertainties. Organic revenue growth is expected to be 1-2%, down from the previous expectations, given the difficult operating conditions in the Welding segment.”

Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on ITW. Deutsche Bank AG increased their price target on shares of Illinois Tool Works from $119.00 to $128.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, July 15th. Royal Bank Of Canada increased their target price on shares of Illinois Tool Works from $101.00 to $104.00 and gave the stock a “sector perform” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 21st. Robert W. Baird lowered shares of Illinois Tool Works from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $108.00 target price for the company. in a research report on Thursday, June 23rd. RBC Capital Markets reiterated a “sector perform” rating and set a $104.00 target price (up previously from $101.00) on shares of Illinois Tool Works in a research report on Sunday, July 24th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG set a $114.00 target price on shares of Illinois Tool Works and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 21st. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $110.20.

Analyst Recommendations for Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW)

Shares of Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) traded up 0.37% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $115.51. 825,813 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a market capitalization of $41.00 billion, a PE ratio of 21.51 and a beta of 1.11. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $118.03 and a 200-day moving average of $111.03. Illinois Tool Works has a 52 week low of $79.15 and a 52 week high of $123.50.

Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $1.46 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.40 by $0.06. The company earned $3.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.41 billion. Illinois Tool Works had a net margin of 14.65% and a return on equity of 38.15%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down .1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.30 earnings per share. Equities analysts forecast that Illinois Tool Works will post $5.62 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, October 6th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 30th were given a $0.65 dividend. This represents a $2.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.26%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, September 28th. This is a positive change from Illinois Tool Works’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.55. Illinois Tool Works’s payout ratio is currently 48.42%.

In related news, Vice Chairman David C. Parry sold 40,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $118.49, for a total transaction of $4,739,600.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 40,584 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,808,798.16. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Sundaram Nagarajan sold 4,560 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $119.50, for a total value of $544,920.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 24,777 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,960,851.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.80% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Hudock Capital Group LLC increased its position in shares of Illinois Tool Works by 0.5% in the second quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,037 shares of the company’s stock worth $108,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the period. Peddock Capital Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of Illinois Tool Works during the third quarter worth about $138,000. Archford Capital Strategies LLC increased its position in shares of Illinois Tool Works by 1,008.5% in the second quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC now owns 1,175 shares of the company’s stock worth $122,000 after buying an additional 1,069 shares during the period. Acropolis Investment Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Illinois Tool Works during the second quarter worth about $128,000. Finally, Farmers National Bank bought a new position in shares of Illinois Tool Works during the second quarter worth about $129,000. Institutional investors own 74.89% of the company’s stock.

About Illinois Tool Works

Illinois Tool Works Inc (ITW) is a manufacturer of a range of industrial products and equipment. The Company operates through seven segments: Automotive OEM, Test & Measurement and Electronics, Food Equipment, Polymers & Fluids, Welding, Construction Products and Specialty Products. It produces components and fasteners for automotive-related applications; equipment, consumables and related software for testing and measuring of materials and structures, and equipment and consumables used in the production of electronic subassemblies and microelectronics; adhesives, sealants, lubrication and cutting fluids, and fluids and polymers for auto aftermarket maintenance and appearance; arc welding equipment, consumables and accessories for a range of industrial and commercial applications, and beverage packaging equipment and consumables, product coding and marking equipment, and consumables, and appliance components and fasteners.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:ITW

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