VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRSN) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “VeriSign reported better-than-expected third-quarter 2017 results, which also improved year over year. However, rising operating expenses related to sales and marketing will remain an overhang on margins. The negative impact of search engine adjustments on domain monetization is also a headwind. Additionally, overall renewal rate for domains have been softening, especially for first-time renewals, which will continue to affect its top-line growth. However, rise in domain name registrations in the United States as well as in international markets is a tailwind for the company. Also, we believe that gTLD prospects, international expansion through IDNs and investments in intellectual properties bode well for long-term growth. Shares have also outperformed the industry in the past one year.”

Several other brokerages have also issued reports on VRSN. Robert W. Baird set a $105.00 target price on VeriSign and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Citigroup Inc. raised their target price on VeriSign from $101.00 to $111.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Cowen and Company reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $103.00 target price on shares of VeriSign in a research report on Sunday. Finally, BidaskClub raised VeriSign from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, August 26th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. VeriSign currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $106.33.

VeriSign (VRSN) traded up 1.38% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $109.00. The stock had a trading volume of 571,342 shares. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $106.99 and its 200 day moving average price is $98.06. The company has a market capitalization of $10.89 billion, a PE ratio of 29.71 and a beta of 1.19. VeriSign has a 52 week low of $75.71 and a 52 week high of $110.82.

VeriSign (NASDAQ:VRSN) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The information services provider reported $1.00 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $292.40 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $290.90 million. VeriSign had a negative return on equity of 36.88% and a net margin of 39.79%. VeriSign’s revenue was up 1.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.93 EPS. On average, analysts expect that VeriSign will post $4.00 EPS for the current year.

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In other news, Director Kathleen A. Cote sold 1,500 shares of VeriSign stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $99.94, for a total value of $149,910.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 38,294 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,827,102.36. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 0.92% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of VRSN. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. grew its stake in shares of VeriSign by 21.9% in the 2nd quarter. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. now owns 1,420 shares of the information services provider’s stock valued at $133,000 after buying an additional 255 shares during the period. OLD Mutual Customised Solutions Proprietary Ltd. grew its stake in shares of VeriSign by 109.5% in the 1st quarter. OLD Mutual Customised Solutions Proprietary Ltd. now owns 1,676 shares of the information services provider’s stock valued at $146,000 after buying an additional 876 shares during the period. Acrospire Investment Management LLC grew its stake in shares of VeriSign by 128.6% in the 2nd quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,600 shares of the information services provider’s stock valued at $149,000 after buying an additional 900 shares during the period. Global X Management Co. LLC grew its stake in shares of VeriSign by 13.4% in the 2nd quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 1,632 shares of the information services provider’s stock valued at $152,000 after buying an additional 193 shares during the period. Finally, Whittier Trust Co. of Nevada Inc. grew its stake in shares of VeriSign by 2.1% in the 2nd quarter. Whittier Trust Co. of Nevada Inc. now owns 2,086 shares of the information services provider’s stock valued at $194,000 after buying an additional 42 shares during the period.

About VeriSign

VeriSign, Inc is a provider of domain name registry services and Internet security. The Company operates through Registry Services and Security Services segment. Registry Services ensure the security, stability and resiliency of Internet infrastructure and services, including the .com and .net domains, and operation of the root-zone maintainer functions for the core of the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS).

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