Stifel Nicolaus Downgrades Square, Inc. (SQ) to Hold
Square, Inc. (NYSE:SQ) was downgraded by investment analysts at Stifel Nicolaus from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Wednesday. They currently have a $36.00 price target on the technology company’s stock. Stifel Nicolaus’ price objective points to a potential downside of 3.20% from the company’s previous close.
The analysts wrote, “We are downgrading shares from Buy to Hold based on valuation. We continue to believe Square is building a uniquely positioned SMB services ecosystem and is effectively expanding its opportunity with new products/features, international expansion, and larger merchant penetration. Year-to-date, Square shares have risen by 168% vs. 15% for the S&P 500. Greater visibility into positive outcomes for Square’s key debates along with consolidation activity in the industry and strong technology/digital payments sentiment have lifted shares, in our view. We expect another strong quarter and are adjusting our estimates for the quarter and the year higher. Our new target price increases to $36.””
Other analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Needham & Company LLC reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $30.00 target price (up previously from $20.00) on shares of Square in a report on Thursday, August 3rd. Deutsche Bank AG upped their target price on Square to $28.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 24th. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $28.00 target price on shares of Square in a report on Thursday, July 6th. Citigroup Inc. upped their target price on Square from $23.00 to $30.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, July 6th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Square from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $30.00 target price on the stock in a report on Tuesday, August 1st. Twelve analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-two have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $28.14.
Square (NYSE:SQ) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The technology company reported ($0.04) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of ($0.05) by $0.01. Square had a negative return on equity of 12.41% and a negative net margin of 4.13%. The business had revenue of $240.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $228.64 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted ($0.08) earnings per share. Square’s revenue was up 40.4% on a year-over-year basis.
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In related news, CFO Sarah Friar sold 19,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.54, for a total transaction of $490,368.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 366,103 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,350,270.62. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director James Morgan Jr. Mckelvey sold 400,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.02, for a total value of $10,008,000.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 507,385 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $12,694,772.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 1,353,600 shares of company stock valued at $38,351,040. 32.68% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in SQ. Almanack Investment Partners LLC. bought a new position in Square during the 2nd quarter worth $117,000. Riverhead Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in Square during the 2nd quarter worth about $149,000. Hudock Capital Group LLC acquired a new stake in Square during the 3rd quarter worth about $157,000. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank grew its holdings in Square by 19.4% during the 2nd quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 6,752 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $158,000 after acquiring an additional 1,099 shares during the period. Finally, Pacer Advisors Inc. grew its holdings in Square by 42.2% during the 2nd quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 8,368 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $196,000 after acquiring an additional 2,485 shares during the period. 54.04% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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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