Morgan Stanley cut shares of Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) from an equal weight rating to an underweight rating in a research note published on Tuesday morning, MarketBeat.com reports. Morgan Stanley currently has $135.00 price target on the business services provider’s stock.

MCO has been the topic of several other research reports. Goldman Sachs Group started coverage on Moody’s in a report on Wednesday, November 14th. They set a neutral rating and a $165.00 price objective on the stock. Cantor Fitzgerald dropped their price objective on Moody’s to $145.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a report on Monday, October 29th. UBS Group dropped their price objective on Moody’s from $192.00 to $189.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a report on Friday, September 21st. Barclays dropped their price objective on Moody’s from $175.00 to $165.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a report on Monday. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co dropped their price objective on Moody’s from $172.00 to $170.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, October 30th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $171.42.

Shares of MCO stock traded down $0.43 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $148.61. 43,178 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,121,850. The firm has a market cap of $28.05 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.50, a PEG ratio of 1.71 and a beta of 1.24. Moody’s has a 12-month low of $129.26 and a 12-month high of $187.98. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 7.40, a quick ratio of 1.38 and a current ratio of 1.38.

Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, October 26th. The business services provider reported $1.69 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.78 by ($0.09). The firm had revenue of $1.08 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.13 billion. Moody’s had a return on equity of 412.48% and a net margin of 23.85%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.52 EPS. As a group, research analysts predict that Moody’s will post 7.51 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, December 12th. Investors of record on Wednesday, November 21st were issued a dividend of $0.44 per share. This represents a $1.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.18%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, November 20th. Moody’s’s dividend payout ratio is currently 29.00%.

In related news, SVP Blair Worrall sold 5,561 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $147.43, for a total transaction of $819,858.23. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Company insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Banco de Sabadell S.A acquired a new stake in Moody’s in the second quarter valued at about $1,096,000. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Moody’s in the second quarter valued at about $140,000. Rathbone Brothers plc lifted its position in Moody’s by 83.8% in the third quarter. Rathbone Brothers plc now owns 12,272 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $2,052,000 after purchasing an additional 5,594 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in Moody’s by 0.3% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 16,870,550 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $2,820,756,000 after purchasing an additional 55,968 shares during the period. Finally, OppenheimerFunds Inc. lifted its position in Moody’s by 107.8% in the second quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 7,272 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,240,000 after purchasing an additional 3,773 shares during the period. 87.68% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Moody’s Company Profile

Moody's Corporation provides credit ratings; and credit, capital markets, and economic related research, data, and analytical tools worldwide. It operates through two segments, Moody's Investors Service and Moody's Analytics. The Moody's Investors Service segment publishes credit ratings on various debt obligations and entities that issue such obligations comprising various corporate and governmental obligations, structured finance securities, and commercial paper programs.

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Analyst Recommendations for Moody`s (NYSE:MCO)

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