International Paper Company (NYSE:IP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors 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 another 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.”

IP has been the subject of several other reports. Vertical Research restated a “buy” rating on shares of International Paper in a research note on Friday, July 28th. KeyCorp restated a “hold” rating on shares of International Paper in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “buy” rating and issued a $66.00 price target on shares of International Paper in a research note on Friday, August 18th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) upgraded International Paper from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price target for the stock from $60.00 to $64.00 in a research note on Thursday, July 13th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating on shares of International Paper in a research note on Thursday, August 17th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating, seven have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. International Paper has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $60.27.

Shares of International Paper (NYSE IP) opened at 57.64 on Monday. International Paper has a 12 month low of $43.55 and a 12 month high of $58.95. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $55.87 and its 200 day moving average is $54.47. The company has a market capitalization of $23.80 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.27 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. International Paper had a return on equity of 27.09% and a net margin of 3.73%. The business had revenue of $5.77 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.72 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.92 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that International Paper will post $3.46 EPS for the current year.

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In related news, insider Gregory T. Wanta sold 1,044 shares of the firm’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 sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 0.63% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of IP. Exencial Wealth Advisors LLC increased its stake in International Paper by 0.3% in the second quarter. Exencial Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 6,312 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $357,000 after purchasing an additional 16 shares during the period. Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management LLC increased its stake in International Paper by 0.3% in the first quarter. Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management LLC now owns 6,426 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $326,000 after purchasing an additional 20 shares during the period. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC increased its stake in International Paper by 0.5% in the second quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC now owns 4,335 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $245,000 after purchasing an additional 20 shares during the period. Vaughan David Investments Inc. IL increased its stake in International Paper by 0.5% in the first quarter. Vaughan David Investments Inc. IL now owns 4,248 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $216,000 after purchasing an additional 21 shares during the period. Finally, Mechanics Bank Trust Department increased its stake in International Paper by 0.6% in the second quarter. Mechanics Bank Trust Department now owns 4,467 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $253,000 after purchasing an additional 26 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 83.07% of the company’s stock.

About International Paper

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.

Analyst Recommendations for International Paper (NYSE:IP)

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