Square, Inc. (NYSE:SQ) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Square has outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis. The company’s comprehensive commerce ecosystem, accelerated business growth and focus on integration, automation, and platform are key catalysts. The company's plan to open a wholly-owned brick-and-mortar bank is positive in our view. Meanwhile, automation is enabling the company to increase reach of financial system to more people, scale up its own operations and help sellers with advanced CRM tools. Moreover, the company displays consistent business growth through balancing investment and margin expansion. However, it’s currently a loss making enterprise, which doesn't augur with investors. Moreover, vulnerability to intense competition and changing technology, industry standards and seller and buyer needs pose signficant challenges.”

Several other research analysts have also commented on SQ. Bank of America Corporation assumed coverage on Square in a research report on Tuesday, September 12th. They set a “neutral” rating on the stock. Vetr raised Square from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $26.28 price objective for the company in a report on Tuesday, July 4th. Citigroup Inc. increased their price objective on Square from $23.00 to $30.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, July 6th. Cantor Fitzgerald started coverage on shares of Square in a research report on Tuesday, September 12th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $31.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus restated a “buy” rating and set a $29.00 target price (up from $23.00) on shares of Square in a research report on Sunday, July 30th. Thirteen equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $25.24.

Shares of Square (SQ) traded up 1.14% during trading on Wednesday, reaching $30.28. 4,236,234 shares of the company traded hands. The company’s market capitalization is $11.62 billion. Square has a 1-year low of $10.88 and a 1-year high of $30.30. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $26.85 and its 200 day moving average is $23.04.

Square (NYSE:SQ) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The technology company reported ($0.04) earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.05) by $0.01. The business had revenue of $240.00 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $228.64 million. Square had a negative return on equity of 12.41% and a negative net margin of 4.13%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 40.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned ($0.08) EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Square will post $0.24 EPS for the current year.

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In other Square news, Director James Morgan Jr. Mckelvey sold 400,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $25.02, for a total value of $10,008,000.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 507,385 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $12,694,772.70. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CFO Sarah Friar sold 38,400 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.36, for a total transaction of $1,089,024.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 366,103 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,382,681.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 972,800 shares of company stock valued at $25,520,512. 32.68% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of SQ. FMR LLC raised its position in shares of Square by 114.7% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 23,888,617 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $560,427,000 after purchasing an additional 12,764,491 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its stake in Square by 73.4% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 19,034,862 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $446,558,000 after buying an additional 8,058,892 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors lifted its stake in Square by 32.8% in the 2nd quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 15,597,830 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $365,925,000 after buying an additional 3,853,000 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC lifted its stake in Square by 5.8% in the 2nd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 9,076,600 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $212,937,000 after buying an additional 498,100 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in Square by 23.0% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,618,987 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $155,282,000 after buying an additional 1,235,662 shares in the last quarter. 53.83% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Square Company Profile

Square, Inc (Square) is a commerce ecosystem. The Company enables its sellers start, run and grow their businesses. It combines software with hardware to enable sellers to turn mobile devices and computing devices into payments and point-of-sale solutions. Once a seller downloads the Square Point of Sale mobile application, they can take their first payment.

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Analyst Recommendations for Square (NYSE:SQ)

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