Lincoln Electric +1.5% as BB&T upgrades to Buy

Lincoln Electric (LECO +1.5%) is upgraded to Buy from Hold at BB&T Capital, which says it sees improving trends in the U.S. in both volume and pricing, along with a modest rebound of activity in Europe.

Taken all together, BB&T believes LECO has the ability to achieve better than expected growth over the next 12-18 months, and expects share repurchases to accelerate in 2014 - the firm says to look for heavy activity in Q2 given the recent pullback - and LECO is pushing to raise the dividend to a 30% payout ratio vs. 20%-25% now.

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