Viacom (VIAB) Rating Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report issued on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Viacom have underperformed the industry it belongs to in 2017. The company has been struggling with decreased subscribers on the domestic front. Moreover, it expects affiliate revenues in the United States to remain weak, particularly in the first half of fiscal 2018. Higher programming expenses also have the potential to hurt the operating income going forward. The negativity surrounding the stock is evident from the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 being revised downward 3.1% in the last 30 days. Detailed results will be available on Feb 8. Rumors that the company is in merger-related talks with CBS have also  adversely affected Viacom's stock price. However, strong growth on the international front as well as foreign currency movements have been aiding the company's top line. “

A number of other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. Citigroup cut Viacom from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and dropped their target price for the stock from $33.00 to $24.00 in a report on Monday, October 9th. Morgan Stanley dropped their target price on Viacom from $42.00 to $38.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a report on Friday, October 13th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “hold” rating and set a $30.00 price target on shares of Viacom in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. Deutsche Bank decreased their price target on Viacom to $25.00 and set a “sell” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, October 23rd. Finally, Barclays set a $32.00 price target on Viacom and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, October 20th. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have given a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $35.04.

Shares of Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB) traded down $0.59 on Friday, hitting $33.36. The stock had a trading volume of 5,860,113 shares, compared to its average volume of 5,480,000. Viacom has a fifty-two week low of $22.13 and a fifty-two week high of $46.72. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.81, a quick ratio of 1.30 and a current ratio of 1.55. The firm has a market cap of $13,470.00, a PE ratio of 7.16, a PEG ratio of 1.18 and a beta of 1.60.

Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, November 16th. The company reported $0.77 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.86 by ($0.09). Viacom had a return on equity of 28.95% and a net margin of 14.13%. The company had revenue of $3.32 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.23 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.54 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.9% on a year-over-year basis. analysts anticipate that Viacom will post 3.82 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in VIAB. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Viacom by 28.9% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 28,964,262 shares of the company’s stock valued at $972,330,000 after buying an additional 6,496,269 shares during the last quarter. Steadfast Capital Management LP bought a new position in Viacom in the 2nd quarter valued at $117,707,000. FMR LLC boosted its position in Viacom by 17.3% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 10,918,953 shares of the company’s stock valued at $366,551,000 after buying an additional 1,607,844 shares during the last quarter. Capital International Investors boosted its position in Viacom by 19.3% in the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 8,761,721 shares of the company’s stock valued at $243,926,000 after buying an additional 1,418,000 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Oldfield Partners LLP boosted its position in Viacom by 25.6% in the 4th quarter. Oldfield Partners LLP now owns 6,722,920 shares of the company’s stock valued at $207,134,000 after buying an additional 1,368,700 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 79.19% of the company’s stock.

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About Viacom

Viacom Inc offers global media brands that create television programs, motion pictures, short-form content, applications, games, consumer products, social media experiences and other entertainment content. As of September 30, 2016, the Company offered its services for audiences in more than 180 countries.

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