Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Becton Dickinson and (NYSE:BDX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday, January 5th.

According to Zacks, “In the last six months,  Becton, Dickinson and Company, popularly known as BD, has outperformed the broader industry. BD recently completed the acquisition of C. R. Bard. The company will establish a new segment — BD Interventional in which Bard will be integrated. We view the acquisition as a strategic one which will generate benefits from complementary businesses and geographical expansion. Further, BD announced that it will divest its soft tissue core needle biopsy products for $100 million to Merit Medical. On the flipside, lackluster performance by the Medical segment is a concern. Performance in the segment was affected by sluggishness in the Medication Management Solutions and Pharmaceutical Systems units in the United States. BD temporarily paused shipments of its insulin infusion sets. The voluntary recall of Barricor blood collection tubes in the recent past also adds to our woes.”

Several other research analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Citigroup raised shares of Becton Dickinson and from a sell rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Friday, January 5th. KeyCorp began coverage on shares of Becton Dickinson and in a research note on Friday, January 5th. They issued an overweight rating and a $260.00 target price for the company. Evercore ISI began coverage on Becton Dickinson and in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. They issued an outperform rating and a $245.00 price target for the company. Deutsche Bank set a $260.00 price target on Becton Dickinson and and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, December 29th. Finally, Argus lifted their price target on Becton Dickinson and to $235.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Thursday, December 14th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $233.80.

Shares of Becton Dickinson and (NYSE BDX) traded down $1.35 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $244.93. 1,286,997 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,410,000. Becton Dickinson and has a 12-month low of $171.86 and a 12-month high of $248.39. The firm has a market cap of $56,190.00, a P/E ratio of 52.67, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.77 and a beta of 1.07. The company has a quick ratio of 5.03, a current ratio of 5.58 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.44.

Becton Dickinson and (NYSE:BDX) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The medical instruments supplier reported $2.40 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.37 by $0.03. Becton Dickinson and had a net margin of 8.52% and a return on equity of 20.56%. The firm had revenue of $3.17 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.14 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $2.12 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that Becton Dickinson and will post 10.87 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 30th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 9th will be issued a dividend of $0.75 per share. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.22%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 8th. Becton Dickinson and’s payout ratio is currently 64.52%.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Becton Dickinson and by 8.5% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 17,255,948 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $3,366,809,000 after purchasing an additional 1,353,780 shares during the period. State Street Corp grew its holdings in shares of Becton Dickinson and by 3.5% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 10,270,221 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $2,003,834,000 after purchasing an additional 342,873 shares during the period. Northern Trust Corp grew its holdings in shares of Becton Dickinson and by 4.0% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 2,813,937 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $549,028,000 after purchasing an additional 106,966 shares during the period. Fiera Capital Corp grew its holdings in shares of Becton Dickinson and by 7.1% during the 2nd quarter. Fiera Capital Corp now owns 2,782,146 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $542,825,000 after purchasing an additional 183,372 shares during the period. Finally, Fundsmith LLP grew its holdings in shares of Becton Dickinson and by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Fundsmith LLP now owns 2,302,590 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $449,258,000 after purchasing an additional 5,977 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.69% of the company’s stock.

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Becton Dickinson and Company Profile

Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) is a global medical technology company engaged in the development, manufacture and sale of a range of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment and diagnostic products. The Company operates through two segments: BD Medical and BD Life Sciences. The BD Medical segment produces an array of medical technologies and devices that are used to help improve healthcare delivery in a range of settings.

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