Kadant Inc. (NYSE:KAI) shares hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Wednesday . The company traded as high as $55.00 and last traded at $54.63, with a volume of 12,937 shares. The stock had previously closed at $54.55.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Kadant from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $53.00 price target for the company in a research note on Thursday, May 5th.

The stock has a market capitalization of $594.04 million and a P/E ratio of 17.70. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $52.12 and a 200 day moving average price of $45.56.

Kadant (NYSE:KAI) last released its earnings results on Monday, May 2nd. The company reported $0.72 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.14. The firm earned $97 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $86.37 million. Kadant’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.63 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Kadant Inc. will post $3.03 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 11th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, July 14th will be issued a $0.19 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, July 12th. This represents a $0.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.39%.

In other news, Director Thomas C. Leonard sold 1,250 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.00, for a total transaction of $65,000.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 20,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,040,000. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director William P. Tully sold 3,750 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.85, for a total transaction of $194,437.50. Following the transaction, the director now owns 5,000 shares in the company, valued at $259,250. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds and institutional investors recently made changes to their positions in the company. Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its position in shares of Kadant by 10.2% in the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 734,293 shares of the company’s stock valued at $29,821,000 after buying an additional 67,826 shares during the last quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors raised its position in shares of Kadant by 2.5% in the fourth quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 65,682 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,667,000 after buying an additional 1,574 shares during the last quarter. Dean Investment Associates LLC bought a new position in shares of Kadant during the fourth quarter valued at $1,830,000. Schroder Investment Management Group bought a new position in shares of Kadant during the fourth quarter valued at $1,657,000. Finally, Royce & Associates LLC raised its position in shares of Kadant by 3.4% in the fourth quarter. Royce & Associates LLC now owns 273,967 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,126,000 after buying an additional 8,900 shares during the last quarter.

Kadant Inc is a supplier of equipment used in process industries. The process industries, including papermaking, paper recycling and oriented strand board (OSB), an engineered wood panel product used primarily in home construction. In addition, the Company manufactures granules made from papermaking byproducts.

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