Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Square (SQ) to “Buy”

Square (NYSE:SQ) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has a $51.00 price objective on the technology company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would indicate a potential upside of 12.61% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Square is currently benifiting from strength in core payments business and operating expense leverage. The company’s comprehensive commerce ecosystem, accelerated business growth and focus on integration, automation, and platform are key catalysts. 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, vulnerability to intense competition and changing technology, industry standards and seller and buyer needs pose significant challenges. Notably, in past 12 months, the stock has substantially outperformed the industry it belongs to.”

Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on the stock. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Square to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 16th. Vetr upgraded shares of Square from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $39.78 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, October 25th. Evercore ISI upgraded shares of Square from an “in-line” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $51.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Friday, November 17th. Stephens restated an “overweight” rating and set a $38.00 price objective (up previously from $34.00) on shares of Square in a research report on Thursday, November 9th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Guggenheim upgraded shares of Square from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $44.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, November 9th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and twenty-five have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $36.23.

Square (NYSE SQ) traded up $2.73 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $45.29. 27,181,498 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 17,953,836. Square has a one year low of $13.84 and a one year high of $49.56. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48, a quick ratio of 1.81 and a current ratio of 1.81. The company has a market cap of $17,530.00 and a price-to-earnings ratio of -266.41.

Square (NYSE:SQ) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 8th. The technology company reported $0.07 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.05 by $0.02. Square had a negative net margin of 3.04% and a negative return on equity of 7.98%. The company had revenue of $257.12 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $244.95 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.01 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 44.6% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts forecast that Square will post -0.15 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, Director Mary G. Meeker sold 51,422 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $38.25, for a total value of $1,966,891.50. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CFO Sarah Friar sold 38,400 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.24, for a total value of $1,814,016.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 355,566 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,796,937.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 1,669,532 shares of company stock valued at $65,210,218 over the last three months. 32.68% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Atlantic Trust Group LLC acquired a new position in Square in the third quarter worth approximately $1,143,000. California Public Employees Retirement System increased its holdings in Square by 10.3% in the second quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 353,700 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $8,298,000 after buying an additional 33,100 shares during the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its holdings in Square by 1,407.6% in the third quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 696,007 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $20,052,000 after buying an additional 649,841 shares during the last quarter. Kessler Investment Group LLC increased its holdings in Square by 133.1% in the fourth quarter. Kessler Investment Group LLC now owns 11,725 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $407,000 after buying an additional 6,695 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. acquired a new position in Square in the third quarter worth approximately $36,574,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 54.29% of the company’s stock.

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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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