Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics Inc. (NYSE:DGX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Wednesday morning. The brokerage currently has $93.00 price objective on the stock.
According to Zacks, “Quest Diagnostics exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings as well as revenues for the second-quarter 2016. Keeping in line with its five-point strategy, Quest Diagnostics is refocusing on core diagnostic information services business through product launch and strategic alliances and is working on disciplined capital deployment. We are looking forward to the company’s recent partnerships with Safeway and HealthOne Systems of HCA Healthcare. We are also encouraged about the company’s newly launched three cancer tests that will provide clinically actionable insight into an individual's risk of developing hereditary cancer. Most importantly, after suffering through several quarters of low volume environment, the company has finally strated to witness improvement in terms of both volume and pricing. However, sustainability of this improvement is still a matter of question. Besides, reimbursement concerns remain.”
DGX has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Citigroup Inc. initiated coverage on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research note on Friday, September 9th. They issued a neutral rating and a $86.00 price target on the stock. Canaccord Genuity set a $90.00 price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. Mizuho cut shares of Quest Diagnostics from a buy rating to a neutral rating and lifted their price target for the company from $84.00 to $86.00 in a research note on Wednesday, August 31st. Jyske Bank cut shares of Quest Diagnostics from a neutral rating to a sell rating in a research note on Friday, June 24th. Finally, Evercore ISI reissued a hold rating and issued a $89.50 price target (up previously from $78.50) on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research note on Sunday, July 24th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $82.45.
Shares of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) opened at 85.44 on Wednesday. Quest Diagnostics has a 52 week low of $59.66 and a 52 week high of $86.85. The stock has a market cap of $11.88 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.91 and a beta of 0.66. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $84.07 and a 200 day moving average of $78.68.
Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $1.34 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.32 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $1.91 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.91 billion. Quest Diagnostics had a net margin of 11.02% and a return on equity of 14.41%. The business’s revenue was down 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.25 EPS. On average, analysts expect that Quest Diagnostics will post $5.11 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 19th. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 4th will be issued a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 30th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.87%. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 28.02%.
In related news, Director Jeffrey M. Leiden sold 6,345 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.62, for a total value of $543,258.90. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 7,233 shares in the company, valued at approximately $619,289.46. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director John B. Ziegler sold 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $84.36, for a total transaction of $84,360.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.50% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund bought a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the second quarter valued at about $465,000. Kentucky Retirement Systems bought a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the second quarter valued at about $979,000. Mason Street Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the second quarter valued at about $1,551,000. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio raised its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 64.8% in the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 56,078 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,565,000 after buying an additional 22,058 shares during the period. Finally, Colonial Trust Advisors raised its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 4.4% in the second quarter. Colonial Trust Advisors now owns 52,986 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,314,000 after buying an additional 2,211 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 91.33% 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 Company’s Diagnostic Information Services business develops and delivers diagnostic testing information and services to patients, physicians, health plans, hospitals, accountable care organizations (ACOs), integrated delivery networks (IDNs), other commercial laboratories, employers and others.
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