Ball Corporation (BLL) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Ball Corporation expects the performance of its aerospace business to improve in the second quarter 2017. Further, the company anticipates 2017 free cash flow to be in the range of $750–$850 million and capital spending of around $500 million. Ball Corporation remains on track with free cash flow, EVA dollar growth, earnings per share growth and cost savings targets for 2017. The company will benefit from optimizing its packaging, manufacturing, network and beverage food and aerosol; and improvement in aerospace business. However, Ball Corporation's results will be hurt by increased expenses. Persistent weakness in demand at the end-market level for carbonated soft drinks, beer, and food also remain headwinds. The company underperformed the Zacks categorized sub industry over the past one year.”

Several other research firms have also issued reports on BLL. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Ball Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, June 28th. Vertical Research downgraded shares of Ball Corporation from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $41.50 target price for the company. in a research report on Friday, May 5th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $39.50 target price on shares of Ball Corporation in a research report on Tuesday, March 14th. Jefferies Group LLC lifted their target price on shares of Ball Corporation from $45.00 to $47.50 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Monday, May 15th. Finally, TheStreet raised shares of Ball Corporation from a c+ rating to a b rating in a research report on Thursday, May 4th. Nine research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $42.59.

Ball Corporation (NYSE BLL) opened at 42.30 on Wednesday. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $45.58 and a 200-day moving average price of $67.50. Ball Corporation has a 52 week low of $34.34 and a 52 week high of $42.87. The firm has a market capitalization of $14.85 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.47 and a beta of 0.96.

Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, May 4th. The industrial products company reported $0.38 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.34 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $2.47 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.41 billion. Ball Corporation had a net margin of 4.59% and a return on equity of 16.46%. Ball Corporation’s revenue for the quarter was up 40.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.30 earnings per share. Analysts anticipate that Ball Corporation will post $2.15 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, June 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, June 1st were paid a $0.10 dividend. This is an increase from Ball Corporation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.07. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.95%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, May 30th. Ball Corporation’s dividend payout ratio is currently 26.67%.

In other Ball Corporation news, Director R David Hoover sold 22,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $39.75, for a total value of $874,500.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 205,260 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,159,085. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman John A. Hayes sold 2,717 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.62, for a total transaction of $219,044.54. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 206,255 shares in the company, valued at $16,628,278.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 77,732 shares of company stock worth $3,309,230 over the last 90 days. Insiders own 2.70% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Ball Corporation by 4.1% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 17,276,432 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $1,282,948,000 after buying an additional 683,310 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Ball Corporation by 2,907.6% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 10,298,454 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $764,763,000 after buying an additional 9,956,034 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its position in shares of Ball Corporation by 2.2% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 7,550,160 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $560,675,000 after buying an additional 161,792 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its position in shares of Ball Corporation by 15.8% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 7,054,566 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $523,873,000 after buying an additional 962,025 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Wellington Management Group LLP increased its position in shares of Ball Corporation by 7.7% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 6,239,027 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $463,310,000 after buying an additional 444,106 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 43.21% of the company’s stock.

About Ball Corporation

Ball Corporation is a supplier of metal packaging to the beverage, food, personal care and household products industries. The Company’s packaging products are produced for a range of end uses and are manufactured in facilities around the world. Its segments include beverage packaging, North and Central America; beverage packaging, South America; beverage packaging, Europe; food and aerosol packaging; aerospace, and other.

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Analyst Recommendations for Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL)

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