Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday morning. They currently have $189.00 price objective on the industrial products company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “In the last three months, Illinois Tool Works' shares have outperformed the industry. We believe that the company is well positioned to benefit from its solid product portfolio, strengthening foothold in various end markets and strategic initiatives to improve margins. From 2018 to 2022, the company expects organic revenue growth to be in the 3-5% range, operating margin to be in excess of 25% and earnings per share to grow 8-10% in each year. In addition, it initiated its financial guidance for 2018, anticipating GAAP earnings to be within $7.05-$7.25 per share. Organic revenue growth is predicted to be within 3-4% and operating margin to be 25-25.5%. The projections for 2017 (results not yet released) have been reaffirmed, with earnings per share still anticipated to be $6.62-$6.72. Earnings estimates on the stock improved for 2018 in the last 60 days.”

A number of other equities analysts have also issued reports on the company. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a sector perform rating and set a $155.00 price target (up previously from $143.00) on shares of Illinois Tool Works in a report on Friday, October 20th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. BMO Capital Markets raised their price target on Illinois Tool Works to $180.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Wednesday, December 6th. Argus reissued a buy rating and set a $180.00 price target (up previously from $160.00) on shares of Illinois Tool Works in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. Bank of America began coverage on Illinois Tool Works in a report on Monday, December 11th. They set a buy rating and a $190.00 price target on the stock. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised Illinois Tool Works from an underweight rating to a neutral rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $132.00 to $140.00 in a report on Tuesday, October 10th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. Illinois Tool Works currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $166.31.

Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) traded up $1.52 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $170.52. The company had a trading volume of 953,180 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,320,278. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.48, a quick ratio of 1.98 and a current ratio of 2.41. Illinois Tool Works has a 52-week low of $122.25 and a 52-week high of $171.52. The stock has a market capitalization of $58,420.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.15, a P/E/G ratio of 2.35 and a beta of 1.18.

Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) last released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, October 23rd. The industrial products company reported $1.85 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.65 by $0.20. Illinois Tool Works had a return on equity of 47.21% and a net margin of 16.12%. The firm had revenue of $3.62 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.57 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.50 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 3.4% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts forecast that Illinois Tool Works will post 6.7 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 29th were issued a $0.78 dividend. This represents a $3.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.83%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 28th. Illinois Tool Works’s dividend payout ratio is presently 47.85%.

In other news, insider Steven L. Martindale sold 64,818 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, October 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $157.19, for a total transaction of $10,188,741.42. Following the sale, the insider now owns 95,328 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $14,984,608.32. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP Norman D. Jr. Finch purchased 4,986 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 25th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $156.34 per share, for a total transaction of $779,511.24. Following the purchase, the vice president now directly owns 4,371 shares in the company, valued at $683,362.14. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 214,791 shares of company stock worth $34,665,964 in the last ninety days. 0.90% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Omnia Family Wealth LLC raised its position in shares of Illinois Tool Works by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Omnia Family Wealth LLC now owns 747 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $107,000 after purchasing an additional 2 shares during the last quarter. Private Vista LLC raised its position in shares of Illinois Tool Works by 13,697.3% during the 2nd quarter. Private Vista LLC now owns 279,534 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $108,000 after purchasing an additional 277,508 shares during the last quarter. Harding Loevner LP acquired a new position in shares of Illinois Tool Works during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $115,000. WFG Advisors LP raised its position in shares of Illinois Tool Works by 24.7% during the 2nd quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 812 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $116,000 after purchasing an additional 161 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Salem Investment Counselors Inc. raised its position in shares of Illinois Tool Works by 1.9% during the 2nd quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. now owns 900 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $129,000 after purchasing an additional 17 shares during the last quarter. 74.73% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Illinois Tool Works

Illinois Tool Works Inc is a manufacturer of industrial products and equipment. The Company operates through seven segments. The Automotive OEM segment produces components and fasteners for automotive-related applications. The Food Equipment segment offers commercial food equipment. The Test & Measurement and Electronics segment produces test and measurement, and electronic manufacturing and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) solutions.

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