CME Group Inc (CME) Upgraded to Hold by Zacks Investment Research

CME Group Inc (NASDAQ:CME) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of CME Group have outperformed the Zacks categorized Securities Exchanges industry, in the last one year. CME Group remains well positioned for growth on the back of its strong market position with diverse derivative product lines. Efforts to expand and cross sell its core exchange-traded business through new product initiatives and global reach also support growth. Reaffirming its commitment to boost shareholders’ value, CME Group announced its annual variable dividend in Dec 2016. However, mounting expenses remain a concern for CME Group. The company projects higher expense in 2017.Also, exposure to interest rate volatility, limited credit availability in the current unstable capital and credit markets, can hamper liquidity.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $128.00 price objective on shares of CME Group in a report on Saturday, March 11th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered shares of CME Group from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 31st. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $106.38.

Analyst Recommendations for CME Group (NASDAQ:CME)

CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) traded up 0.07% during midday trading on Monday, reaching $124.68. 472,129 shares of the company were exchanged. The company has a 50-day moving average of $122.16 and a 200 day moving average of $114.08. CME Group has a 52 week low of $89.00 and a 52 week high of $127.60. The firm has a market capitalization of $42.35 billion, a PE ratio of 27.52 and a beta of 0.88.

CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 2nd. The company reported $1.14 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.11 by $0.03. CME Group had a net margin of 42.67% and a return on equity of 7.28%. The business earned $913 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $881.46 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.92 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 12.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts predict that CME Group will post $4.85 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, March 27th. Investors of record on Friday, March 10th will be issued a $0.66 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 8th. This is a positive change from CME Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. This represents a $2.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.12%. CME Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 52.98%.

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In related news, President Bryan T. Durkin sold 14,886 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, December 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $116.39, for a total value of $1,732,581.54. Following the completion of the transaction, the president now directly owns 65,960 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,677,084.40. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Hilda Harris Piell sold 3,043 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $124.26, for a total transaction of $378,123.18. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 26,082 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,240,949.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 34,168 shares of company stock valued at $4,046,545. 0.61% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Norges Bank bought a new stake in shares of CME Group during the fourth quarter worth about $304,552,000. DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral Genossenschafts Bank Frankfurt am Main bought a new stake in shares of CME Group during the fourth quarter worth about $186,203,000. BlackRock Group LTD increased its stake in shares of CME Group by 28.7% in the third quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 4,534,689 shares of the company’s stock worth $473,965,000 after buying an additional 1,010,694 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its stake in shares of CME Group by 5.7% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 17,986,325 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,084,930,000 after buying an additional 977,421 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Asset Management One Co. Ltd. increased its stake in shares of CME Group by 655.1% in the fourth quarter. Asset Management One Co. Ltd. now owns 670,930 shares of the company’s stock worth $77,418,000 after buying an additional 582,080 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 80.06% of the company’s stock.

About CME Group

CME Group Inc is a provider of products across all major asset classes, based on interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, energy, agricultural commodities and metals. The Company’s products include both exchange-traded and privately negotiated futures and options contracts and swaps. The Company connects buyers and sellers together through its CME Globex electronic trading platform across the globe and its open outcry trading facilities in Chicago and New York City.

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