Accenture PLC (NYSE:ACN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Thursday. The firm currently has a $151.00 price objective on the information technology services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 11.96% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Accenture offers management consultancy, technology and outsourcing services. Shares of the company have outperformed the industry over the past year. We are positive about Accenture’s latest product additions in the analytics application space, given the increasing demand for digital solutions. Moreover, Accenture’s strategy of growing through partnerships like Apple and acquisitions like VERAX are encouraging. The strategies have enabled Accenture to enter new markets, diversify and broaden its product portfolio, and maintain its leading position. Nonetheless, Accenture’s recent announcement of creating 15K new jobs by 2020 and investment plan of $1.4 billion for employee training and opening of 10 innovation centers across the U.S. cities may dent its bottom-line results in our opinion. Furthermore, increasing competition from peers and an uncertain macroeconomic environment may deter its growth to some extent.”

ACN has been the subject of a number of other reports. Morgan Stanley set a $132.00 target price on Accenture PLC and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, June 16th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “hold” rating and issued a $130.00 price target (up from $125.00) on shares of Accenture PLC in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. Cowen and Company boosted their price target on Accenture PLC from $131.00 to $135.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, June 28th. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their price target on Accenture PLC from $138.00 to $146.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, September 7th. Finally, Bank of America Corporation assumed coverage on Accenture PLC in a report on Tuesday. They issued a “buy” rating and a $150.00 price target on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating, sixteen have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $132.59.

Accenture PLC (ACN) traded up 0.07% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $134.87. The stock had a trading volume of 2,935,178 shares. Accenture PLC has a 52 week low of $109.12 and a 52 week high of $136.95. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $130.21 and a 200-day moving average of $124.68. The firm has a market cap of $83.35 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.88 and a beta of 1.11.

Accenture PLC (NYSE:ACN) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, June 22nd. The information technology services provider reported $1.52 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.52. Accenture PLC had a return on equity of 43.96% and a net margin of 9.92%. The firm had revenue of $8.87 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $8.82 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.41 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 5.1% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that Accenture PLC will post $5.90 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, CEO Pierre Nanterme sold 40,134 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $123.02, for a total value of $4,937,284.68. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 222,362 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $27,354,973.24. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, COO Johan Deblaere sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $122.99, for a total value of $614,950.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 126,417 shares in the company, valued at approximately $15,548,026.83. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 79,817 shares of company stock worth $9,920,929 in the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 0.21% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ACN. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in shares of Accenture PLC by 2,139.5% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 39,462,967 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $4,730,821,000 after purchasing an additional 37,700,871 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Accenture PLC by 6.2% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 47,379,397 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $5,679,843,000 after purchasing an additional 2,749,896 shares during the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its position in shares of Accenture PLC by 2,531.4% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 2,520,680 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $311,760,000 after purchasing an additional 2,424,888 shares during the last quarter. BT Investment Management Ltd acquired a new position in shares of Accenture PLC in the second quarter valued at approximately $220,158,000. Finally, Wellington Management Group LLP grew its position in shares of Accenture PLC by 8.8% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 21,583,126 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $2,587,385,000 after purchasing an additional 1,738,262 shares during the last quarter. 77.80% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Accenture PLC

Accenture plc is a professional services company serving clients in various industries and in geographic regions, including North America, Europe and Growth Markets. The Company provides management and technology consulting services. Its segments include Communications, Media and Technology; Financial Services; Health and Public Service; Products, and Resources.

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