Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE:ITW) shares hit a new 52-week low on Thursday . The company traded as low as $126.68 and last traded at $129.28, with a volume of 139311 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $132.01.

A number of research analysts recently weighed in on ITW shares. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Illinois Tool Works from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 11th. Morgan Stanley started coverage on Illinois Tool Works in a research note on Monday, August 20th. They issued an “equal weight” rating and a $146.00 price objective on the stock. Wells Fargo & Co reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $150.00 price objective (down from $160.00) on shares of Illinois Tool Works in a research note on Wednesday. Goldman Sachs Group lowered Illinois Tool Works from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $145.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Monday, July 23rd. Finally, ValuEngine raised Illinois Tool Works from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, September 4th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $158.94.

The firm has a market cap of $43.07 billion, a PE ratio of 17.64, a P/E/G ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 1.22. The company has a quick ratio of 1.35, a current ratio of 1.73 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.60.

Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, July 23rd. The industrial products company reported $1.97 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.97. Illinois Tool Works had a return on equity of 56.74% and a net margin of 12.70%. The company had revenue of $3.83 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.85 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.69 EPS. Illinois Tool Works’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.4% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities research analysts predict that Illinois Tool Works Inc. will post 7.63 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 9th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 28th were issued a dividend of $1.00 per share. This represents a $4.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.15%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 27th. This is a positive change from Illinois Tool Works’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.78. Illinois Tool Works’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 60.70%.

Illinois Tool Works announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback program on Friday, August 3rd that permits the company to buyback $3.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the industrial products company to buy up to 6.4% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, Director Richard H. Lenny acquired 1,778 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 27th. The shares were bought at an average price of $140.85 per share, with a total value of $250,431.30. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. 0.90% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. North Star Investment Management Corp. grew its holdings in shares of Illinois Tool Works by 6.3% during the 2nd quarter. North Star Investment Management Corp. now owns 6,085 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $843,000 after purchasing an additional 362 shares in the last quarter. Signaturefd LLC boosted its stake in Illinois Tool Works by 17.0% in the 2nd quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 2,564 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $355,000 after buying an additional 372 shares in the last quarter. Sky Investment Group LLC boosted its stake in Illinois Tool Works by 0.9% in the 2nd quarter. Sky Investment Group LLC now owns 45,259 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $6,270,000 after buying an additional 385 shares in the last quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in Illinois Tool Works by 12.2% in the 2nd quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 3,635 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $504,000 after buying an additional 395 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Woodstock Corp boosted its stake in Illinois Tool Works by 0.8% in the 2nd quarter. Woodstock Corp now owns 48,433 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $6,710,000 after buying an additional 400 shares in the last quarter. 76.18% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Illinois Tool Works Company Profile (NYSE:ITW)

Illinois Tool Works Inc manufactures and sells industrial products and equipment worldwide. It operates through seven segments: Automotive OEM; Food Equipment; Test & Measurement and Electronics; Welding; Polymers & Fluids; Construction Products; and Specialty Products. The Automotive OEM segment offers plastic and metal components, fasteners, and assemblies for automobiles, light trucks, and other industrial uses.

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