Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “Year to date, Illinois Tool Works' shares have underperformed the industry. We believe that the company is exposed to headwinds arising from unfavorable foreign currency movements, volatilities in input price & supply and economic uncertainties. Also, a high debt level, if unchecked, will increase the company's financial obligations and prove detrimental to its profitability. Exiting fourth-quarter 2017, the company's long-term debt was approximately $7.5 billion. Moreover, industry rivalry and difficulties or delays in research and development or production and services, along with the failure of new products and technologies in the market, may significantly impact the company's competitive position.”

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Several other research firms have also recently commented on ITW. Wells Fargo lifted their target price on Illinois Tool Works from $190.00 to $200.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. JPMorgan Chase lifted their target price on Illinois Tool Works from $160.00 to $168.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Credit Suisse Group lifted their target price on Illinois Tool Works from $163.00 to $166.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. BMO Capital Markets lifted their target price on Illinois Tool Works from $180.00 to $185.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Finally, Jefferies Group reissued a buy rating on shares of Illinois Tool Works in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $176.29.

NYSE ITW opened at $156.36 on Monday. The firm has a market capitalization of $52,946.41, a PE ratio of 23.73, a PEG ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 1.24. Illinois Tool Works has a 52 week low of $130.17 and a 52 week high of $179.07. The company has a quick ratio of 1.98, a current ratio of 2.38 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.63.

Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, January 24th. The industrial products company reported $1.70 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.62 by $0.08. The company had revenue of $3.63 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.54 billion. Illinois Tool Works had a return on equity of 48.42% and a net margin of 11.79%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.39 EPS. equities research analysts expect that Illinois Tool Works will post 7.71 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, April 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 30th were given a $0.78 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 28th. This represents a $3.12 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.00%. Illinois Tool Works’s dividend payout ratio is currently 47.34%.

In other news, insider Sundaram Nagarajan sold 18,650 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, January 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $178.00, for a total value of $3,319,700.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 42,497 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,564,466. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.82% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of ITW. Atlantic Trust Group LLC lifted its holdings in Illinois Tool Works by 21.6% during the third quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 243,617 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $36,045,000 after acquiring an additional 43,356 shares in the last quarter. DnB Asset Management AS lifted its holdings in Illinois Tool Works by 21.3% during the fourth quarter. DnB Asset Management AS now owns 51,917 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $8,662,000 after acquiring an additional 9,100 shares in the last quarter. Bath Savings Trust Co lifted its holdings in Illinois Tool Works by 123.9% during the fourth quarter. Bath Savings Trust Co now owns 4,105 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $685,000 after acquiring an additional 2,272 shares in the last quarter. Rockland Trust Co. bought a new position in Illinois Tool Works during the fourth quarter worth about $369,000. Finally, Appleton Partners Inc. MA lifted its holdings in Illinois Tool Works by 19.3% during the fourth quarter. Appleton Partners Inc. MA now owns 8,743 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $1,459,000 after acquiring an additional 1,415 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 77.64% of the company’s stock.

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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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