Steris PLC (NYSE:STE) reached a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Friday . The company traded as high as $124.26 and last traded at $123.98, with a volume of 4615 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $123.55.

A number of research firms have recently issued reports on STE. Stephens reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $135.00 price target on shares of Steris in a research note on Thursday, February 14th. JMP Securities reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $135.00 price target on shares of Steris in a research note on Thursday, February 14th. Finally, Sidoti boosted their price target on shares of Steris from $155.00 to $157.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 6th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating, The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $138.20.

The company has a market capitalization of $10.44 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.73 and a beta of 1.07. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.40, a quick ratio of 1.99 and a current ratio of 2.56.

Steris (NYSE:STE) last announced its earnings results on Monday, February 11th. The medical equipment provider reported $1.26 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $1.26. Steris had a net margin of 9.85% and a return on equity of 12.50%. The firm had revenue of $696.24 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $687.90 million. As a group, analysts predict that Steris PLC will post 4.78 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 21st. Investors of record on Wednesday, February 27th will be paid a dividend of $0.34 per share. This represents a $1.36 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.10%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, February 26th. Steris’s payout ratio is currently 32.77%.

In related news, Director Michael B. Wood sold 3,609 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $121.79, for a total transaction of $439,540.11. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, VP John Adam Zangerle sold 1,750 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $110.00, for a total transaction of $192,500.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 32,546 shares in the company, valued at $3,580,060. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 10,396 shares of company stock worth $1,226,593. 2.38% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in STE. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its holdings in Steris by 10,585.0% during the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 3,572,743 shares of the medical equipment provider’s stock worth $33,000 after acquiring an additional 3,539,306 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank acquired a new position in Steris during the 4th quarter worth approximately $96,648,000. Federated Investors Inc. PA grew its holdings in Steris by 2,546.2% during the 3rd quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 868,434 shares of the medical equipment provider’s stock worth $99,348,000 after acquiring an additional 835,616 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in Steris by 10.3% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 8,549,361 shares of the medical equipment provider’s stock worth $913,498,000 after acquiring an additional 800,900 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Villere ST Denis J & Co. LLC acquired a new position in Steris during the 4th quarter worth approximately $63,124,000. 87.10% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Steris (NYSE:STE)

STERIS plc provides infection prevention and other procedural products and services worldwide. The company operates in four segments: Healthcare Products, Healthcare Specialty Services, Life Sciences, and Applied Sterilization Technologies. The Healthcare Products segment offers cleaning chemistries and sterility assurance products; accessories for gastrointestinal (GI) procedures, washers, sterilizers, and other pieces of capital equipment for the operations of a sterile processing department; and equipment used in the operating room, including surgical tables, lights, equipment management services, and connectivity solutions.

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