Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Mercer International (NASDAQ:MERC) (TSE:MRI.U) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Mercer International Inc. owns and operates a diverse pulp and paper business in the southern German states of Saxony and Thuringia, in the former East Germany. The Company operates it’s pulp business primarily through its subsidiaries, Spezialpapierfabrik Blankenstein GmbH and Zellstof-und Papierfabrik Rosenthal GmbH & Co. KG , and conducts its paper business through another subsidiary, Dresden Papier GmbH. “

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. Raymond James reissued a buy rating and issued a $41.00 price target on shares of Norbord in a research note on Tuesday, July 16th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Weyco Group from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a report on Saturday, July 13th. Royal Bank of Canada dropped their target price on Toromont Industries from C$66.00 to C$65.00 and set a sector perform rating for the company in a research report on Monday, May 6th. TD Securities boosted their price objective on Westshore Terminals Investment from C$20.00 to C$21.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Monday, May 6th. Finally, CIBC upped their price target on Norbord from C$31.00 to C$35.00 in a report on Friday, July 5th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $22.00.

Shares of MERC opened at $12.48 on Friday. Mercer International has a twelve month low of $9.36 and a twelve month high of $19.14. The stock has a market capitalization of $819.33 million, a P/E ratio of 6.37 and a beta of 1.65. The company has a current ratio of 3.98, a quick ratio of 2.65 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.68. The company has a fifty day moving average price of $14.53.

Mercer International (NASDAQ:MERC) (TSE:MRI.U) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 2nd. The basic materials company reported $0.78 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $484.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $476.87 million. Mercer International had a net margin of 9.82% and a return on equity of 26.76%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 31.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.82 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Mercer International will post 1.74 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, July 3rd. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 24th were given a $0.1375 dividend. This is a positive change from Mercer International’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.13. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, June 21st. This represents a $0.55 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.41%. Mercer International’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 28.06%.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Mason Street Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Mercer International in the 1st quarter worth $187,000. United Services Automobile Association lifted its position in shares of Mercer International by 24.4% during the 4th quarter. United Services Automobile Association now owns 20,962 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $219,000 after purchasing an additional 4,107 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund acquired a new position in shares of Mercer International during the 1st quarter worth about $227,000. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. acquired a new position in Mercer International in the 1st quarter valued at approximately $240,000. Finally, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC grew its stake in shares of Mercer International by 81.4% in the 1st quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC now owns 23,124 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $312,000 after purchasing an additional 10,375 shares during the period. 78.64% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Mercer International Company Profile

Mercer International Inc, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells northern bleached softwood Kraft (NBSK) pulp in the United States, Europe, Asia, and internationally. The company operates in two segments, Pulp and Wood Products. It produces NBSK pulp primarily from wood chips and pulp logs; carbon neutral or green energy using carbon-neutral bio-fuels, such as black liquor and wood waste; and tall oil for use as a chemical additive and green energy source.

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