Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Becton Dickinson and (NYSE:BDX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “In the last six months,  Becton, Dickinson and Company, popularly known as BD, has outperformed the broader industry. BD recently completed the acquisition of C. R. Bard. The company will establish a new segment — BD Interventional in which Bard will be integrated. We view the acquisition as a strategic one which will generate benefits from complementary businesses and geographical expansion. Further, BD announced that it will divest its soft tissue core needle biopsy products for $100 million to Merit Medical. On the flipside, lackluster performance by the Medical segment is a concern. Performance in the segment was affected by sluggishness in the Medication Management Solutions and Pharmaceutical Systems units in the United States. BD temporarily paused shipments of its insulin infusion sets. The voluntary recall of Barricor blood collection tubes in the recent past also adds to our woes.”

A number of other equities analysts have also issued reports on the company. Citigroup raised Becton Dickinson and from a sell rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Friday. KeyCorp began coverage on Becton Dickinson and in a research report on Friday. They issued an overweight rating and a $260.00 target price on the stock. Evercore ISI began coverage on Becton Dickinson and in a research report on Wednesday, January 3rd. They issued an outperform rating and a $245.00 target price on the stock. Deutsche Bank set a $260.00 target price on Becton Dickinson and and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Friday, December 29th. Finally, Argus upped their target price on Becton Dickinson and to $235.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, December 14th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Becton Dickinson and presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $230.20.

Becton Dickinson and (NYSE BDX) opened at $221.40 on Friday. Becton Dickinson and has a 52-week low of $168.03 and a 52-week high of $229.68. The stock has a market capitalization of $50,790.00, a P/E ratio of 47.61, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.70 and a beta of 1.07. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.44, a current ratio of 5.58 and a quick ratio of 5.03.

Becton Dickinson and (NYSE:BDX) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The medical instruments supplier reported $2.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.37 by $0.03. Becton Dickinson and had a return on equity of 20.56% and a net margin of 8.52%. The company had revenue of $3.17 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.14 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $2.12 EPS. Becton Dickinson and’s quarterly revenue was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts anticipate that Becton Dickinson and will post 10.89 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 29th. Investors of record on Friday, December 8th were given a dividend of $0.75 per share. This is a positive change from Becton Dickinson and’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.73. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.36%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, December 7th. Becton Dickinson and’s dividend payout ratio is currently 64.52%.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Becton Dickinson and by 8.5% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 17,255,948 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $3,366,809,000 after acquiring an additional 1,353,780 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its position in Becton Dickinson and by 3.5% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 10,270,221 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $2,003,834,000 after buying an additional 342,873 shares during the period. Northern Trust Corp increased its position in Becton Dickinson and by 4.0% in the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 2,813,937 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $549,028,000 after buying an additional 106,966 shares during the period. Fiera Capital Corp increased its position in Becton Dickinson and by 7.1% in the second quarter. Fiera Capital Corp now owns 2,782,146 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $542,825,000 after buying an additional 183,372 shares during the period. Finally, Fundsmith LLP increased its position in Becton Dickinson and by 0.3% in the second quarter. Fundsmith LLP now owns 2,302,590 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $449,258,000 after buying an additional 5,977 shares during the period. 75.53% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Becton Dickinson and

Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) is a global medical technology company engaged in the development, manufacture and sale of a range of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment and diagnostic products. The Company operates through two segments: BD Medical and BD Life Sciences. The BD Medical segment produces an array of medical technologies and devices that are used to help improve healthcare delivery in a range of settings.

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