Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (DGX) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research
Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report issued on Friday.
According to Zacks, “Quest Diagnostics’ third-quarter earnings topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while revenues remained in line. The company is currently focusing on its core diagnostic information services business and working on disciplined capital deployment. It is witnessing significant growth through infectious disease testing, prescription drug monitoring and wellness. Also several new collaborations with hospitals and integrated delivery networks continue to act as major growth drivers. We are looking forward to the recent partnership with Cleveland Clinic which includes the acquisition of Cleveland HeartLab. Over the last year, Quest Diagnostics was trading above the industry. On the flip side, the company faced major sales disruption in the third quarter due to the hurricanes. Accordingly, it has reduced the upper-end of its 2017 earnings guidance range which is disappointing. Tough competitive landscape and reimbursement headwind are other woes.”
Several other research firms also recently weighed in on DGX. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Thursday, June 29th. UBS AG upped their price objective on shares of Quest Diagnostics from $115.00 to $123.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, July 6th. Barclays PLC restated a “hold” rating and set a $110.00 price objective on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Bank of America Corporation upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $111.00 to $118.00 in a report on Tuesday, July 25th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies upped their price objective on shares of Quest Diagnostics to $107.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 25th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have issued a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Quest Diagnostics has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $106.18.
Shares of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE DGX) traded up 0.68% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $95.44. 327,403 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The company has a 50 day moving average of $97.31 and a 200 day moving average of $104.53. The firm has a market cap of $13.02 billion, a PE ratio of 19.23 and a beta of 0.65. Quest Diagnostics has a 52-week low of $79.12 and a 52-week high of $112.97.
Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 19th. The medical research company reported $1.39 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.35 by $0.04. Quest Diagnostics had a net margin of 8.82% and a return on equity of 15.53%. The firm had revenue of $1.93 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.92 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.37 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 2.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts predict that Quest Diagnostics will post $5.65 EPS for the current fiscal year.
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In related news, Chairman Stephen H. Rusckowski sold 59,235 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $108.16, for a total transaction of $6,406,857.60. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now owns 220,049 shares in the company, valued at $23,800,499.84. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Daniel Stanzione sold 40,900 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $108.07, for a total transaction of $4,420,063.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 41,991 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,537,967.37. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 160,692 shares of company stock valued at $17,375,423 in the last 90 days. 1.75% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. purchased a new stake in Quest Diagnostics during the third quarter worth about $11,127,000. BARING ASSET MANAGEMENT Ltd increased its holdings in Quest Diagnostics by 5.5% during the third quarter. BARING ASSET MANAGEMENT Ltd now owns 13,456 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $1,260,000 after buying an additional 707 shares during the last quarter. Aperio Group LLC increased its holdings in Quest Diagnostics by 1.0% during the third quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 105,276 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $9,858,000 after buying an additional 995 shares during the last quarter. Boston Advisors LLC increased its holdings in Quest Diagnostics by 1.5% during the third quarter. Boston Advisors LLC now owns 180,632 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $16,914,000 after buying an additional 2,660 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Advisors Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in Quest Diagnostics by 10.0% during the third quarter. Advisors Capital Management LLC now owns 19,356 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $1,812,000 after buying an additional 1,752 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 87.08% of the company’s stock.
About Quest Diagnostics
Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is a provider of diagnostic information services. The Company operates through two businesses: Diagnostic Information Services and Diagnostic Solutions. The Diagnostic Information Services business develops and delivers diagnostic testing information and services, providing insights that empower and enable a range of customers, including patients, clinicians, hospitals, integrated delivery networks (IDNs), health plans, employers and accountable care organizations (ACOs).
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