Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Wednesday.
According to Zacks, “Quest Diagnostics’ fourth-quarter earnings exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while revenues remained in line with the same. On a positive note, the company is currently refocusing on its core diagnostic information services business and working on disciplined capital deployment. It is witnessing significant growth through infectious disease testing, prescription drug monitoring and wellness. Also several new collaborations with hospitals and integrated delivery networks continue to act as major growth drivers. We are looking forward to the recent buyout of Mobile Medical Examination Service, a national provider of home-based health risk assessments and related services. This apart, the 2018 guidance looks promising. Over the past year, Quest Diagnostics was trading above the industry. On the flip side, unit price headwind continues to hamper growth. Tough competitive landscape and reimbursement issues are the other woes.”
Several other research analysts also recently weighed in on the company. Argus upgraded Quest Diagnostics from a hold rating to a buy rating and increased their price target for the stock from $104.14 to $116.00 in a research note on Wednesday. Credit Suisse Group raised Quest Diagnostics from a neutral rating to an outperform rating and set a $107.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, February 13th. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a hold rating and set a $110.00 price objective on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Thursday, February 1st. Goldman Sachs Group initiated coverage on Quest Diagnostics in a report on Monday, January 29th. They set a buy rating and a $117.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Mizuho set a $113.00 price objective on Quest Diagnostics and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, January 24th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $108.10.
Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The medical research company reported $1.40 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.37 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $1.94 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.93 billion. Quest Diagnostics had a return on equity of 15.41% and a net margin of 10.00%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 4.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.31 EPS. research analysts forecast that Quest Diagnostics will post 6.59 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, April 18th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, April 4th will be issued a $0.50 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, April 3rd. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.87%. This is a boost from Quest Diagnostics’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.45. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 32.73%.
In other Quest Diagnostics news, SVP Catherine T. Doherty sold 397 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $102.74, for a total value of $40,787.78. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 71,926 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,389,677.24. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Stephen H. Rusckowski sold 106,840 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $107.00, for a total value of $11,431,880.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 272,956 shares in the company, valued at approximately $29,206,292. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 208,358 shares of company stock worth $21,617,807. Insiders own 1.75% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 29.1% during the 4th quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,487,295 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $244,974,000 after purchasing an additional 560,538 shares during the last quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH increased its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 5.6% during the 4th quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 2,148,357 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $211,592,000 after purchasing an additional 114,861 shares during the last quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 73.1% during the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 2,107,796 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $207,596,000 after purchasing an additional 889,802 shares during the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. increased its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 16.8% during the 4th quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 2,039,110 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $200,832,000 after purchasing an additional 293,611 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Alliancebernstein L.P. increased its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 18.2% during the 4th quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 1,816,985 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $178,955,000 after purchasing an additional 280,401 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 87.40% of the company’s stock.
Quest Diagnostics Company Profile
Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is a provider of diagnostic information services. The Company operates through two businesses: Diagnostic Information Services and Diagnostic Solutions. The Diagnostic Information Services business develops and delivers diagnostic testing information and services, providing insights that empower and enable a range of customers, including patients, clinicians, hospitals, integrated delivery networks (IDNs), health plans, employers and accountable care organizations (ACOs).
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