Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ:PAYX) was the recipient of a significant decrease in short interest in the month of July. As of July 14th, there was short interest totalling 12,111,281 shares, a decrease of 11.0% from the June 30th total of 13,611,993 shares. Currently, 3.8% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 1,991,955 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 6.1 days.

A number of analysts recently commented on PAYX shares. BMO Capital Markets dropped their price target on Paychex from $61.00 to $60.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, March 30th. Wedbush reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $61.25 price target (down previously from $65.00) on shares of Paychex in a research note on Tuesday, June 6th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) lowered Paychex from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and dropped their price target for the stock from $68.00 to $64.00 in a research note on Tuesday, June 20th. Robert W. Baird dropped their price target on Paychex from $63.00 to $60.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, June 30th. Finally, Morgan Stanley dropped their price target on Paychex from $56.00 to $55.00 and set an “underweight” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, June 30th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $59.16.

In other news, CEO Martin Mucci sold 33,294 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Sunday, July 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.40, for a total transaction of $1,911,075.60. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 254,618 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $14,615,073.20. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Grant M. Inman sold 10,654 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.75, for a total value of $615,268.50. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 32,514 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,877,683.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 113,151 shares of company stock valued at $6,503,758. Insiders own 11.60% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Paychex by 2,782.5% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 25,717,903 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,514,786,000 after buying an additional 24,825,695 shares in the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Paychex by 23.8% in the first quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 4,237,537 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $248,742,000 after buying an additional 813,930 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its stake in shares of Paychex by 314.1% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,001,929 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $59,014,000 after buying an additional 759,973 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley boosted its stake in shares of Paychex by 27.5% in the first quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 2,786,888 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $164,149,000 after buying an additional 601,496 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC boosted its stake in shares of Paychex by 6.3% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 9,866,100 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $581,112,000 after buying an additional 588,027 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 68.44% of the company’s stock.

Paychex (PAYX) opened at 60.14 on Friday. Paychex has a 12-month low of $52.78 and a 12-month high of $63.03. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $58.29 and a 200-day moving average price of $59.38. The company has a market cap of $21.61 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.73 and a beta of 0.96.

Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, June 28th. The business services provider reported $0.54 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.01. Paychex had a return on equity of 42.65% and a net margin of 25.93%. The business had revenue of $799 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $797.70 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.49 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.0% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Paychex will post $2.37 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 24th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, August 1st will be issued a $0.50 dividend. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.33%. This is a boost from Paychex’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. The ex-dividend date is Friday, July 28th.

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About Paychex

Paychex, Inc is a provider of integrated human capital management (HCM) solutions for payroll, human resource (HR), retirement and insurance services for small- to medium-sized businesses in the United States. The Company also has operations in Germany. The Company offers services, including Payroll processing, Human Resource Services, and Accounting and Financial Services.

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