Lincoln Electric (NASDAQ:LECO) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Lincoln Electric stands to gain from its improving end markets. Focus on commercializing innovative products, relatively stable pricing environment and cost-cutting initiatives will drive growth. It will also benefit from consistent investment in welding automation. Further, the acquisition of Air Liquide will enhance 2020 Vision and Strategy and enables Lincoln to build its global footprint. It will also be accretive to earnings. The company has a positive record of earnings surprises. The stock has outperformed the industry, over the past three months. Raw material inflation will impact margins in fourth-quarter 2017 as well as in 2018. A stronger U.S. dollar will continue to affect the company’s exports. “

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on LECO. Barclays increased their price objective on shares of Lincoln Electric from $90.00 to $96.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Lincoln Electric from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. FBR & Co reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $115.00 price objective (up previously from $105.00) on shares of Lincoln Electric in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Stifel Nicolaus raised shares of Lincoln Electric from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price target for the stock from $97.00 to $116.00 in a report on Tuesday, January 16th. Finally, KeyCorp reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Lincoln Electric in a report on Friday, October 20th. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Lincoln Electric presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $103.38.

Shares of Lincoln Electric (NASDAQ:LECO) traded up $0.22 during trading on Wednesday, reaching $90.87. 147,651 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 423,886. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.75, a current ratio of 2.55 and a quick ratio of 1.83. Lincoln Electric has a twelve month low of $81.39 and a twelve month high of $101.34. The firm has a market cap of $5,950.23, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.84, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.79 and a beta of 1.04.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Elefante Mark B purchased a new position in Lincoln Electric during the fourth quarter valued at $211,000. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd purchased a new position in Lincoln Electric during the second quarter valued at $219,000. Campbell & CO Investment Adviser LLC purchased a new position in Lincoln Electric during the third quarter valued at $219,000. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC lifted its holdings in Lincoln Electric by 311.7% during the second quarter. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC now owns 2,470 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $227,000 after purchasing an additional 1,870 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Tradition Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Lincoln Electric during the fourth quarter valued at $232,000. 64.12% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Lincoln Electric Company Profile

Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc is a manufacturer of welding, cutting and brazing products. The Company operates through three segments: Americas Welding, International Welding and The Harris Products Group. The Americas Welding segment includes welding operations in North and South America. The International Welding segment primarily includes welding operations in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

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