Kirby (NYSE:KEX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Thursday, January 4th.

According to Zacks, “Kirby Corporation operates a fleet of inland tank barges. It is the nation’s largest domestic tank barge operator transporting bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River System, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, coastwise along all three United States coasts, and in Alaska and Hawaii. Kirby transports petrochemicals, black oil, refined petroleum products and agricultural chemicals by tank barge. Kirby also operates offshore dry-bulk barge and tugboat units engaged in the offshore transportation of dry-bulk cargoes in the United States coastal trade. Kirby also rents equipment including generators, fork lifts, pumps, and compressors for use in a variety of industrial markets, and manufactures and remanufactures oilfield service equipment, including pressure pumping units, for land-based oilfield service customers. “

Several other research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. Jefferies Group assumed coverage on shares of Kirby in a report on Monday, December 18th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $85.00 target price for the company. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $67.00 price target on shares of Kirby in a research note on Friday, November 3rd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $76.25.

Shares of Kirby (NYSE:KEX) traded down $1.63 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $74.82. 68,031 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 450,180. Kirby has a 52 week low of $59.25 and a 52 week high of $79.65. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36, a quick ratio of 1.23 and a current ratio of 1.93. The stock has a market cap of $4,617.56, a P/E ratio of 35.55, a PEG ratio of 3.81 and a beta of 1.04.

Kirby (NYSE:KEX) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 1st. The shipping company reported $0.52 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.44 by $0.08. Kirby had a net margin of 5.88% and a return on equity of 4.48%. The company had revenue of $541.30 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $517.54 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.59 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 24.5% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts expect that Kirby will post 2.02 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Kirby by 79.8% in the 3rd quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 1,931 shares of the shipping company’s stock valued at $127,000 after purchasing an additional 857 shares in the last quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Kirby in the 2nd quarter valued at about $204,000. State of Alaska Department of Revenue purchased a new position in shares of Kirby in the 4th quarter valued at about $207,000. Trust Co purchased a new position in Kirby during the 3rd quarter valued at about $208,000. Finally, Boothbay Fund Management LLC purchased a new position in Kirby during the 3rd quarter valued at about $209,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 96.40% of the company’s stock.

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About Kirby

Kirby Corporation is a domestic tank barge operator, transporting bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River System, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, coastwise along all three United States coasts and in Alaska and Hawaii. The Company, through its subsidiaries, operates in two segments: Marine Transportation and Diesel Engine Services.

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