Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:LECO) saw a large increase in short interest in December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 1,610,000 shares, an increase of 11.8% from the December 15th total of 1,440,000 shares. Approximately 2.7% of the company’s stock are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 295,700 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 5.4 days.

Several research firms have commented on LECO. Seaport Global Securities downgraded Lincoln Electric from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, September 18th. BidaskClub downgraded Lincoln Electric from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday. Oppenheimer downgraded Lincoln Electric from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 8th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus downgraded Lincoln Electric from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and dropped their target price for the stock from $97.00 to $84.00 in a report on Tuesday, October 8th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $91.33.

LECO traded down $0.30 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $96.54. 2,954 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 252,315. The company has a quick ratio of 1.17, a current ratio of 1.89 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88. The firm has a market capitalization of $5.89 billion, a PE ratio of 20.04, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.68 and a beta of 1.23. The company’s 50-day moving average is $95.47 and its 200 day moving average is $88.26. Lincoln Electric has a 52 week low of $75.57 and a 52 week high of $98.32.

Lincoln Electric (NASDAQ:LECO) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 30th. The industrial products company reported $1.09 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.24 by ($0.15). Lincoln Electric had a return on equity of 36.00% and a net margin of 10.50%. The company had revenue of $730.80 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $750.21 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.21 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was down .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Lincoln Electric will post 4.69 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 31st were given a dividend of $0.49 per share. This is an increase from Lincoln Electric’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 30th. This represents a $1.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.03%. Lincoln Electric’s dividend payout ratio is 40.66%.

In other Lincoln Electric news, SVP Michael J. Whitehead sold 5,989 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $92.87, for a total value of $556,198.43. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 8,978 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $833,786.86. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP Steven B. Hedlund sold 6,010 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $92.70, for a total value of $557,127.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 75,625 shares of company stock valued at $7,120,786. 3.39% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of LECO. Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. bought a new position in shares of Lincoln Electric during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $36,000. Quest Capital Management Inc. ADV bought a new position in Lincoln Electric in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $57,000. Strategic Wealth Partners Ltd. bought a new position in Lincoln Electric in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $88,000. Captrust Financial Advisors boosted its stake in Lincoln Electric by 12.6% in the 2nd quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors now owns 1,343 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $111,000 after purchasing an additional 150 shares during the period. Finally, Griffin Asset Management Inc. bought a new position in Lincoln Electric in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $165,000. Institutional investors own 71.01% of the company’s stock.

Lincoln Electric Company Profile

Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc, through its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and sells welding, cutting, and brazing products worldwide. It operates through three segments: Americas Welding, International Welding, and The Harris Products Group. The company offers welding products, including arc welding power sources, plasma cutters, wire feeding systems, robotic welding packages, integrated automation systems, fume extraction equipment, consumable electrodes, fluxes and welding accessories, and specialty welding consumables and fabrication products.

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