JPMorgan Chase & Co. initiated coverage on shares of Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) in a report released on Wednesday morning, 24/7 WallStreet reports. The brokerage issued an overweight rating and a $220.00 price target on the business services provider’s stock.

MCO has been the subject of several other research reports. ValuEngine raised shares of Yara International ASA from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, March 19th. BMO Capital Markets raised shares of Gold Fields from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, April 25th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $16.00 target price on shares of WPX Energy and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Friday, April 5th. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on shares of from GBX 1,430 ($18.69) to GBX 1,560 ($20.38) and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a report on Tuesday, June 11th. Finally, UBS Group lifted their target price on shares of Verisk Analytics from $106.00 to $111.00 and gave the stock a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, April 9th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $189.18.

Shares of MCO opened at $205.31 on Wednesday. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $192.86. Moody’s has a one year low of $129.26 and a one year high of $205.34. The company has a market cap of $38.93 billion, a P/E ratio of 27.63, a PEG ratio of 2.00 and a beta of 1.25. The company has a current ratio of 1.45, a quick ratio of 1.45 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 17.70.

Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 24th. The business services provider reported $2.07 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.88 by $0.19. Moody’s had a net margin of 29.38% and a return on equity of 281.55%. The company had revenue of $1.14 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.13 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $2.02 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 1.4% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts expect that Moody’s will post 7.94 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 10th. Investors of record on Tuesday, August 20th will be issued a dividend of $0.50 per share. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.97%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, August 19th. Moody’s’s payout ratio is 27.06%.

In other Moody’s news, SVP Melanie Hughes sold 3,039 shares of Moody’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, May 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $197.52, for a total value of $600,263.28. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 3,912 shares in the company, valued at approximately $772,698.24. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Raymond W. Mcdaniel sold 55,421 shares of Moody’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $193.11, for a total transaction of $10,702,349.31. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 241,024 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $46,544,144.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 147,854 shares of company stock valued at $27,854,940 in the last ninety days. 0.90% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MCO. Raymond James & Associates raised its stake in Moody’s by 7.6% in the 4th quarter. Raymond James & Associates now owns 50,407 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $7,059,000 after purchasing an additional 3,565 shares in the last quarter. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc acquired a new stake in Moody’s in the 4th quarter worth about $56,000. Bessemer Group Inc. raised its stake in Moody’s by 3.2% in the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 8,226 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $1,152,000 after purchasing an additional 255 shares in the last quarter. United Services Automobile Association raised its stake in Moody’s by 0.3% in the 4th quarter. United Services Automobile Association now owns 85,717 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $12,004,000 after purchasing an additional 282 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in Moody’s by 9.2% in the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 493,989 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $69,179,000 after purchasing an additional 41,661 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 92.80% of the company’s stock.

About Moody’s

Moody's Corporation provides credit ratings; and credit, capital markets, and economic 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, such as 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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