Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of International Paper Company (NYSE:IP) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “International Paper has underperformed the industry year to date. Strength in U.S. dollars and soft macroeconomic conditions across the globe has led to volatility in raw material prices. Failure to realize synergies from acquisitions has also impacted International Paper's earnings. High pension obligations further remain a significant headwind. Earnings estimates for the current quarter and year have decreased significantly over the last couple of months, representing negative investor sentiments for the company. However, International Paper is undergoing restructuring initiatives to transform itself into a core packaging firm. It is also taking prudent steps to drive margin expansion and expects EBITDA to increase by 5% in the near future. The company intends to invest $300 million through 2017 to further improve its North American containerboard mill system, enhance product quality, and reduce manufacturing and delivery costs.”

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the company. DA Davidson upgraded International Paper from a neutral rating to a buy rating and lifted their target price for the stock from $53.75 to $62.00 in a research note on Monday, August 14th. BidaskClub downgraded International Paper from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Monday, July 24th. KeyCorp reiterated a hold rating on shares of International Paper in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) upgraded International Paper from a neutral rating to a buy rating and lifted their target price for the stock from $60.00 to $64.00 in a research note on Thursday, July 13th. Finally, Vertical Research reiterated a buy rating on shares of International Paper in a research note on Friday, July 28th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating, seven have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $60.07.

Shares of International Paper (IP) opened at 57.78 on Monday. International Paper has a 52-week low of $43.55 and a 52-week high of $58.95. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $55.47 and a 200 day moving average price of $54.27. The company has a market capitalization of $23.86 billion, a PE ratio of 29.34 and a beta of 1.46.

International Paper (NYSE:IP) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The basic materials company reported $0.65 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.64 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $5.77 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.72 billion. International Paper had a return on equity of 27.09% and a net margin of 3.73%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 8.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.92 EPS. On average, analysts predict that International Paper will post $3.45 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, August 15th were paid a $0.4625 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, August 11th. This represents a $1.85 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.20%. International Paper’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 93.91%.

In related news, insider Gregory T. Wanta sold 1,044 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $55.22, for a total value of $57,649.68. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Insiders own 0.63% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. boosted its stake in International Paper by 21.7% in the 2nd quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. now owns 51,063 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,891,000 after purchasing an additional 9,093 shares during the period. Burney Co. boosted its stake in International Paper by 4.5% in the 2nd quarter. Burney Co. now owns 101,543 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $5,654,000 after purchasing an additional 4,374 shares during the period. Homrich & Berg bought a new stake in International Paper in the 2nd quarter valued at $337,000. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its stake in International Paper by 2.2% in the 1st quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 438,814 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $22,282,000 after purchasing an additional 9,553 shares during the period. Finally, Private Trust Co. NA boosted its stake in International Paper by 10.4% in the 2nd quarter. Private Trust Co. NA now owns 5,245 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $296,000 after purchasing an additional 492 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 83.07% of the company’s stock.

International Paper Company Profile

International Paper Company is a paper and packaging company with primary markets and manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The Company’s segments include Industrial Packaging, Global Cellulose Fibers, Printing Papers and Consumer Packaging.

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Analyst Recommendations for International Paper (NYSE:IP)

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