Short Interest in Graco Inc. (NYSE:GGG) Rises By 9.1%

Graco Inc. (NYSE:GGG) was the target of a large increase in short interest in the month of December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,130,000 shares, an increase of 9.1% from the December 15th total of 2,870,000 shares. Currently, 1.9% of the company’s shares are short sold. Based on an average trading volume of 562,200 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 5.6 days.

NYSE GGG traded up $0.49 during trading on Thursday, hitting $53.33. The stock had a trading volume of 229,532 shares, compared to its average volume of 513,019. The company has a market capitalization of $8.84 billion, a PE ratio of 28.37, a PEG ratio of 2.47 and a beta of 0.98. The company has a quick ratio of 1.68, a current ratio of 2.69 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.20. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $51.07 and a 200 day moving average price of $48.00. Graco has a twelve month low of $41.36 and a twelve month high of $53.91.

Graco (NYSE:GGG) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, October 23rd. The industrial products company reported $0.45 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.51 by ($0.06). The firm had revenue of $400.60 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $418.93 million. Graco had a net margin of 20.29% and a return on equity of 36.17%. The business’s revenue was down 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.50 earnings per share. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Graco will post 1.81 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, February 5th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, January 21st will be given a $0.175 dividend. This is an increase from Graco’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.16. This represents a $0.70 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.31%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, January 17th. Graco’s payout ratio is currently 34.04%.

In related news, EVP Caroline M. Chambers sold 20,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.39, for a total value of $927,800.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 42,497 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,971,435.83. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Bernard J. Moreau sold 102,949 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.55, for a total transaction of $5,409,969.95. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 56,885 shares in the company, valued at $2,989,306.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 164,249 shares of company stock worth $8,332,009. Insiders own 4.23% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. CSat Investment Advisory L.P. acquired a new position in Graco in the second quarter valued at approximately $25,000. Executive Wealth Management LLC boosted its holdings in Graco by 167.3% in the third quarter. Executive Wealth Management LLC now owns 671 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $30,000 after purchasing an additional 420 shares in the last quarter. Northwest Investment Counselors LLC acquired a new position in Graco in the third quarter valued at approximately $35,000. Quest Capital Management Inc. ADV acquired a new position in Graco in the third quarter valued at approximately $40,000. Finally, Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC boosted its holdings in Graco by 34.7% in the third quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC now owns 1,099 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $50,000 after purchasing an additional 283 shares in the last quarter. 84.04% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Several analysts recently issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Graco from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $55.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, December 24th. Royal Bank of Canada restated a “hold” rating and issued a $50.00 price objective on shares of Graco in a report on Wednesday, December 18th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $50.25.

About Graco

Graco, Inc is a manufacturing company, which designs, manufactures and markets systems and equipment used to move, measure, control, dispense and spray fluid and powder materials. It operates through the following segments: Industrial, Contractor and Process. The Industrial segment includes the Applied Fluid Technologies division, Industrial Products division and Process division.

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