Barclays Reaffirms “Buy” Rating for Quest Diagnostics (DGX)
Barclays reissued their buy rating on shares of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) in a research note released on Friday. The firm currently has a $114.00 price objective on the medical research company’s stock.
“We were surprised there was another leg down in the quarter, though one silver lining is that volume growth of 3.4% appears improved – and the company noted that 2019 is off to a good start. $1.36 was modestly better than our forecast of $1.35. Additionally, Quest had an active 4Q18 of capital deployment, repurchasing $175mm of stock, $200mm towards acquisitions, and $68mm toward dividends. Ultimately, shares now trade at 13x our new 2019 EPS forecast of $6.40, and we believe sentiment is near a trough despite the potential for leverageable share gains in 2019. In our view, structural trends should be at the back of the national labs to consolidate testing share – and this is Quest’s time to shine.”,” Barclays‘s analyst wrote.
Other equities research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Citigroup dropped their price target on Quest Diagnostics from $112.00 to $104.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 24th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Quest Diagnostics from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Wednesday, February 6th. Canaccord Genuity decreased their price objective on Quest Diagnostics from $118.00 to $105.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, October 24th. William Blair reaffirmed an outperform rating on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Tuesday, October 23rd. Finally, ValuEngine lowered Quest Diagnostics from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, November 30th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $104.12.
Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 14th. The medical research company reported $1.36 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.37 by ($0.01). Quest Diagnostics had a net margin of 11.30% and a return on equity of 15.71%. The business had revenue of $1.84 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.88 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.40 EPS. The firm’s revenue was down 1.4% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts forecast that Quest Diagnostics will post 6.33 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 30th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, January 15th were issued a $0.53 dividend. This represents a $2.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.41%. This is a positive change from Quest Diagnostics’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.50. The ex-dividend date was Monday, January 14th. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio is currently 39.26%.
Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in DGX. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 57.3% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 1,781,373 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $195,845,000 after purchasing an additional 648,706 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can grew its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 7.6% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 286,198 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $30,884,000 after purchasing an additional 20,169 shares in the last quarter. First Hawaiian Bank acquired a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the 3rd quarter worth $206,000. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 17.1% during the 3rd quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 44,031 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $4,751,000 after purchasing an additional 6,444 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Seven Eight Capital LP acquired a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the 3rd quarter worth $4,899,000. 87.19% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
Quest Diagnostics Company Profile
Quest Diagnostics Incorporated provides diagnostic testing information and services in the United States and internationally. The company's Diagnostic Information Services business segment develops and delivers diagnostic testing information and services, such as routine testing, non-routine and advanced clinical testing, gene-based and esoteric testing, anatomic pathology, and other diagnostic information services.
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