International Paper (IP) Upgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

International Paper (NYSE:IP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “International Paper’s third-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings and revenues both beat the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company delivered improved year-over-year performances in both its top and bottom line aided by solid commercial performance and continued healthy demand across its businesses. Backed by these factors, the company is positioned to deliver improved results in the fourth quarter and 2019 as well. However, elevated input costs and distribution costs will dent near-term margins. The stock has underperformed the industry over the past year. Nevertheless, International Paper will benefit from its restructuring initiatives, and significant investments to improve its North American containerboard mill system and enhance product quality. The company expects the acquisition of Weyerhaeuser’s pulp business to strengthen its position in the global fluff pulp market and augment its operating cash flow.”

Other research analysts have also issued reports about the company. Royal Bank of Canada restated a “buy” rating and issued a $55.00 price target on shares of International Paper in a research report on Tuesday, October 23rd. Citigroup reduced their price target on International Paper from $67.00 to $51.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, October 11th. Stephens set a $57.00 price target on International Paper and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 11th. Deutsche Bank set a $55.00 price target on International Paper and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday. Finally, BMO Capital Markets lowered International Paper from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and reduced their price target for the stock from $66.00 to $51.00 in a research report on Tuesday, October 9th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. International Paper has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $58.64.

NYSE:IP opened at $45.38 on Monday. International Paper has a 12-month low of $39.60 and a 12-month high of $66.94. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.45, a quick ratio of 1.13 and a current ratio of 1.59. The firm has a market capitalization of $18.34 billion, a PE ratio of 13.00, a P/E/G ratio of 0.92 and a beta of 1.54.

International Paper (NYSE:IP) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The basic materials company reported $1.56 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.47 by $0.09. International Paper had a return on equity of 29.42% and a net margin of 13.68%. The business had revenue of $5.90 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.90 billion. Analysts forecast that International Paper will post 5.15 EPS for the current fiscal year.

International Paper announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback program on Tuesday, October 9th that allows the company to buyback $430.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the basic materials company to buy up to 2.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, SVP John V. Sims sold 4,725 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.35, for a total transaction of $256,803.75. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Timothy S. Nicholls sold 17,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.53, for a total value of $893,010.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 108,538 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,701,501.14. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 46,725 shares of company stock worth $2,484,864 in the last ninety days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of IP. Miller Howard Investments Inc. NY acquired a new stake in International Paper during the 2nd quarter worth $53,831,000. Levin Capital Strategies L.P. raised its stake in shares of International Paper by 66.4% in the 2nd quarter. Levin Capital Strategies L.P. now owns 1,867,499 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $97,259,000 after purchasing an additional 745,170 shares during the period. Conning Inc. raised its stake in shares of International Paper by 4,805.7% in the 3rd quarter. Conning Inc. now owns 733,935 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $36,073,000 after purchasing an additional 718,974 shares during the period. First Trust Advisors LP raised its stake in shares of International Paper by 130.8% in the 2nd quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 640,036 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $33,333,000 after purchasing an additional 362,690 shares during the period. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in shares of International Paper by 16.3% in the 2nd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,921,940 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $100,100,000 after purchasing an additional 269,329 shares during the period. 81.85% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

International Paper Company Profile

International Paper Company operates as a paper and packaging company primarily in North America, Europe, Latin America, North Africa, India, and Russia. It operates through three segments: Industrial Packaging, Global Cellulose Fibers, and Printing Papers. The Industrial Packaging segment manufactures containerboards, including linerboard, medium, whitetop, recycled linerboard, recycled medium, and saturating kraft.

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