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 note issued to investors on Monday. The firm presently has a $49.00 price objective on the technology company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 19.13% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Square has substantially outperformed the industry it belongs to in the past 12 months. The company 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.”

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Stephens reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $41.00 target price on shares of Square in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. Vetr raised Square from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $48.00 target price for the company in a report on Monday. Susquehanna Bancshares lifted their target price on Square from $43.00 to $51.00 and gave the stock a “positive” rating in a report on Monday. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “positive” rating and issued a $37.00 target price (up previously from $31.00) on shares of Square in a report on Monday, November 20th. Finally, Citigroup lowered Square from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $38.00 target price for the company. in a report on Thursday, November 9th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and twenty-five have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $36.96.

Square (NYSE SQ) traded down $2.48 during mid-day trading on Monday, reaching $41.13. The company had a trading volume of 11,757,967 shares, compared to its average volume of 15,756,582. Square has a one year low of $13.84 and a one year high of $49.56. The company has a current ratio of 1.81, a quick ratio of 1.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48. The company has a market cap of $16,740.00 and a price-to-earnings ratio of -241.94.

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 Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.05 by $0.02. Square had a negative return on equity of 7.98% and a negative net margin of 3.04%. 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 company earned $0.01 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 44.6% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts predict that Square will post -0.15 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, CFO Sarah Friar sold 38,400 shares of Square stock in a transaction on Friday, January 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $41.46, for a total transaction of $1,592,064.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 349,123 shares in the company, valued at $14,474,639.58. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Mary G. Meeker sold 51,422 shares of Square stock in a transaction on Friday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.25, for a total value of $1,966,891.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 1,669,532 shares of company stock worth $65,210,218. Company insiders own 32.68% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Allianz Asset Management GmbH lifted its position in Square by 31.0% during the third quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 13,302,170 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $383,235,000 after purchasing an additional 3,147,558 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in Square by 23.0% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,618,987 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $155,282,000 after purchasing an additional 1,235,662 shares in the last quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD lifted its position in Square by 7.4% during the fourth quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD now owns 4,153,187 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $143,990,000 after purchasing an additional 284,712 shares in the last quarter. Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings Ltd lifted its position in Square by 12.8% during the third quarter. Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings Ltd now owns 3,600,000 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $103,716,000 after purchasing an additional 409,800 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Columbus Circle Investors lifted its position in Square by 49.4% during the third quarter. Columbus Circle Investors now owns 2,789,773 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $80,373,000 after purchasing an additional 922,214 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 54.66% of the company’s stock.

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About Square

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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