Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Equifax (EFX) to “Hold”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Equifax (NYSE:EFX) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Last year's cyber attack at Equifax, under which criminals stole highly sensitive personal data of approximately 143 million of its consumers, has heavily tarnished the brand image, reputation and credibility of the company. The company is facing huge customer criticism, while cybersecurity companies are questioning its preparedness and response to this massive data breach. Moreover, with lawmakers and investigating agencies probing the mishap, troubles for Equifax are unlikely to end any time soon. Notably, shares have underperformed the industry in the last one year. Nonetheless, we believe that management’s efforts, such as strategic initiatives for product innovation and expansion of data assets through acquisitions should act as tailwinds. Also, the company’s strong correlation with the consumer and financial markets, and exposure in the U.S. and Europe are likely to propel growth.”

Several other research analysts have also commented on EFX. Royal Bank of Canada cut their price target on shares of Equifax from $154.00 to $113.00 and set an outperform rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, September 19th. Deutsche Bank restated a buy rating and issued a $115.00 price target on shares of Equifax in a report on Tuesday, September 19th. Wells Fargo & Co upgraded shares of Equifax from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and cut their price target for the company from $135.00 to $127.00 in a report on Friday, September 22nd. SunTrust Banks restated a buy rating and issued a $110.00 price target on shares of Equifax in a report on Tuesday, September 26th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus restated a buy rating and issued a $149.00 price target on shares of Equifax in a report on Tuesday, September 26th. Nine analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $129.47.

Equifax (EFX) traded up $1.69 on Tuesday, hitting $124.53. 1,178,000 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 910,799. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64, a current ratio of 0.67 and a quick ratio of 0.67. Equifax has a twelve month low of $89.59 and a twelve month high of $147.02. The firm has a market capitalization of $14,750.55, a PE ratio of 28.17, a PEG ratio of 2.10 and a beta of 0.95.

Equifax (NYSE:EFX) last released its earnings results on Thursday, November 9th. The credit services provider reported $1.53 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.49 by $0.04. Equifax had a net margin of 16.18% and a return on equity of 24.45%. The business had revenue of $834.80 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $847.28 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.44 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.8% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts expect that Equifax will post 5.92 earnings per share for the current year.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Equifax by 3.2% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 11,801,839 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $1,621,809,000 after purchasing an additional 368,255 shares during the period. FMR LLC raised its stake in shares of Equifax by 5.8% during the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 6,046,517 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $830,912,000 after purchasing an additional 329,481 shares during the period. Capital International Investors purchased a new stake in shares of Equifax during the third quarter valued at approximately $513,940,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its stake in shares of Equifax by 11,042.5% during the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,729,992 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $237,735,000 after purchasing an additional 1,714,466 shares during the period. Finally, Burgundy Asset Management Ltd. raised its stake in shares of Equifax by 0.7% during the second quarter. Burgundy Asset Management Ltd. now owns 1,683,442 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $231,339,000 after purchasing an additional 11,216 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 95.12% of the company’s stock.

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About Equifax

Equifax Inc is a global provider of information solutions and human resources business process outsourcing services for businesses, governments and consumers. The Company operates in four segments: U.S. Information Solutions (USIS), International, Workforce Solutions and Global Consumer Solutions. Its products and services are based on databases of consumer and business information derived from various sources, including credit, financial assets, telecommunications and utility payments, employment, income, demographic and marketing data.

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