Linde PLC (NYSE:LIN) shares hit a new 52-week high on Friday . The stock traded as high as $176.96 and last traded at $175.27, with a volume of 27845 shares. The stock had previously closed at $174.21.

LIN has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. ValuEngine lowered shares of Linde from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, March 1st. Societe Generale initiated coverage on shares of Linde in a report on Tuesday, January 8th. They set a “buy” rating and a $190.00 price objective on the stock. Citigroup initiated coverage on shares of Linde in a report on Monday, January 7th. They set a “buy” rating on the stock. SunTrust Banks initiated coverage on shares of Linde in a report on Tuesday, January 15th. They set a “buy” rating and a $185.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, KeyCorp initiated coverage on shares of Linde in a report on Monday, January 14th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $188.00 price objective on the stock. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $185.20.

The company has a current ratio of 0.86, a quick ratio of 0.70 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.98. The firm has a market cap of $97.22 billion, a P/E ratio of 30.16, a P/E/G ratio of 1.88 and a beta of 0.78.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 22nd. Investors of record on Friday, March 8th will be issued a $0.875 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 7th. This represents a $3.50 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.98%. Linde’s payout ratio is 28.21%.

In related news, Director Robert L. Wood sold 1,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $158.03, for a total value of $284,454.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CFO Matthew J. White sold 7,749 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $164.99, for a total transaction of $1,278,507.51. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.23% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Linde in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $31,000. Sharkey Howes & Javer purchased a new position in Linde in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $31,000. Kings Point Capital Management purchased a new position in Linde in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $31,000. Heritage Trust Co purchased a new position in Linde in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $31,000. Finally, Tarbox Family Office Inc. purchased a new position in Linde in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $36,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 70.02% of the company’s stock.

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About Linde (NYSE:LIN)

Linde plc operates as an industrial gas and engineering company. The company offers oxygen, nitrogen, argon, rare gases, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, helium, hydrogen, electronic gases, specialty gases, acetylene, shielding gases, and noble gases, as well as develops and distributes procedures and systems for gas applications.

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