Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:LECO) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest during the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 1,786,447 shares, a growth of 38.8% from the February 15th total of 1,287,413 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 365,969 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 4.9 days. Approximately 3.1% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

Shares of LECO stock opened at $84.45 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 2.30, a quick ratio of 1.63 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.79. Lincoln Electric has a 12 month low of $72.28 and a 12 month high of $97.93. The stock has a market cap of $5.39 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.52, a PEG ratio of 1.31 and a beta of 1.20.

Lincoln Electric (NASDAQ:LECO) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, February 14th. The industrial products company reported $1.29 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.20 by $0.09. Lincoln Electric had a net margin of 9.48% and a return on equity of 33.87%. The company had revenue of $744.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $763.57 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.01 earnings per share. Lincoln Electric’s quarterly revenue was down .4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, research analysts anticipate that Lincoln Electric will post 5.3 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 29th will be paid a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.23%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 28th. Lincoln Electric’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 39.00%.

A number of research firms recently weighed in on LECO. Wellington Shields lowered shares of Lincoln Electric from a “gradually accumulate” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $97.00 price target on the stock. in a research report on Friday, February 15th. Vertical Research lowered shares of Lincoln Electric from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $80.00 price target on the stock. in a research report on Friday, February 15th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Lincoln Electric from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lincoln Electric from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, January 21st. Finally, Jefferies Financial Group began coverage on shares of Lincoln Electric in a research report on Friday, January 25th. They set a “buy” rating and a $100.00 price target on the stock. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $96.00.

In related news, SVP Geoffrey P. Allman sold 792 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $87.54, for a total transaction of $69,331.68. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 8,432 shares in the company, valued at $738,137.28. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Hellene S. Runtagh sold 2,531 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $84.23, for a total transaction of $213,186.13. Following the transaction, the director now owns 24,878 shares in the company, valued at $2,095,473.94. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 15,826 shares of company stock worth $1,376,530 over the last 90 days. 3.04% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Lincoln Electric by 1.3% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,023,122 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $474,926,000 after purchasing an additional 75,137 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Lincoln Electric by 1.5% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,003,585 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $560,975,000 after purchasing an additional 89,009 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc raised its stake in Lincoln Electric by 1.5% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 6,003,585 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $560,975,000 after purchasing an additional 89,009 shares during the period. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its stake in Lincoln Electric by 8,249.0% during the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 2,034,567 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $26,000 after purchasing an additional 2,010,198 shares during the period. Finally, Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its stake in Lincoln Electric by 5.3% during the third quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 1,514,972 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $141,559,000 after purchasing an additional 75,958 shares during the period. 69.14% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About Lincoln Electric

Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc engages in the manufacture of arc welding equipment, consumable welding products and other welding and cutting products. Its welding products include arc welding power sources, wire feeding systems, robotic welding packages, fume extraction equipment, consumable electrodes and fluxes.

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