Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of MarketAxess (NASDAQ:MKTX) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a report released on Monday morning. The brokerage currently has $238.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “MarketAxess’ stock has outperformed the industry in a year's time. MarketAxess’ results have been impressive for long courtesy of growth in revenues, improving trading volumes, ongoing investments in areas including Open Trading, launch of products and its strong market position in U.S. credit. Also, it continues to benefit from international business, with strength in both emerging markets and Eurobond spaces. Its selective acquisitions and strategic lliances have aided its top line growth. However, its escalating costs remain a significant headwind. Its expenses are expected to rise over the coming quarters given ongoing investments in several areas including trading platform, new protocols and infrastructure as well as headcount additions. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 earnings being revised 14.5% upward over the last 30 days.”

Several other research analysts also recently issued reports on MKTX. Goldman Sachs Group downgraded MarketAxess from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $210.00 price objective on the stock. in a report on Monday. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $215.00 price objective on shares of MarketAxess in a report on Friday, December 22nd. Finally, Rosenblatt Securities began coverage on MarketAxess in a report on Thursday, December 14th. They set a neutral rating and a $190.00 price objective on the stock. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, two have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $202.86.

MarketAxess (NASDAQ MKTX) traded down $2.85 during trading hours on Monday, reaching $204.56. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 186,430 shares, compared to its average volume of 257,767. MarketAxess has a 12-month low of $153.74 and a 12-month high of $211.06. The firm has a market cap of $7,780.00, a P/E ratio of 52.59 and a beta of 0.70.

MarketAxess (NASDAQ:MKTX) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 25th. The financial services provider reported $0.90 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.90. MarketAxess had a return on equity of 30.12% and a net margin of 37.67%. The firm had revenue of $96.70 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $96.35 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.82 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.1% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts predict that MarketAxess will post 3.93 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

MarketAxess announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $100.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization allows the financial services provider to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In other MarketAxess news, insider Nicholas Themelis sold 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $176.40, for a total transaction of $705,600.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Richard M. Mcvey sold 35,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $178.29, for a total transaction of $6,240,150.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 1,113,076 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $198,450,320.04. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 50,225 shares of company stock valued at $8,955,630 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 4.02% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MKTX. AHL Partners LLP bought a new stake in shares of MarketAxess in the 2nd quarter valued at $338,000. Ramsey Quantitative Systems bought a new stake in shares of MarketAxess in the 2nd quarter valued at $328,000. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its position in shares of MarketAxess by 5.6% in the 2nd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 122,389 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $24,613,000 after buying an additional 6,470 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its position in shares of MarketAxess by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 984,978 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $198,075,000 after buying an additional 4,168 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Trexquant Investment LP bought a new stake in shares of MarketAxess in the 3rd quarter valued at $594,000. Institutional investors own 91.65% of the company’s stock.

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About MarketAxess

MarketAxess Holdings Inc operates an electronic trading platform that enables fixed-income market participants to trade corporate bonds and other types of fixed-income instruments using its trading technology. Institutional investor and broker-dealer firms are users of trading platform, accessing global liquidity in the United States corporate bonds, emerging markets and high-yield bonds, European bonds, the United States agency bonds, municipal bonds, credit default swaps and other fixed-income securities.

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