Shares of Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:NUAN) gapped down prior to trading on Wednesday following a weaker than expected earnings announcement. The stock had previously closed at $18.29, but opened at $17.02. Nuance Communications shares last traded at $16.72, with a volume of 6,212,886 shares trading hands.

The software maker reported $0.18 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.27 by $0.09. Nuance Communications had a negative net margin of 2.57% and a positive return on equity of 15.76%. The business had revenue of $495.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $495.57 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.38 earnings per share. Nuance Communications’s quarterly revenue was up 2.2% on a year-over-year basis.

A number of equities research analysts have recently commented on the stock. Barclays PLC reduced their target price on shares of Nuance Communications from $22.00 to $21.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday. Raymond James Financial, Inc. reduced their target price on shares of Nuance Communications from $24.00 to $22.00 and set a “strong-buy” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday. Deutsche Bank AG reduced their target price on shares of Nuance Communications from $25.00 to $23.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday. Canaccord Genuity reduced their target price on shares of Nuance Communications from $22.00 to $21.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday. Finally, BidaskClub cut shares of Nuance Communications from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating, five have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $20.44.

In other news, Director Katherine A. Martin sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $19.12, for a total transaction of $191,200.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 97,880 shares in the company, valued at $1,871,465.60. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Paul Ricci sold 139,267 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $19.10, for a total transaction of $2,659,999.70. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 2,090,036 shares in the company, valued at $39,919,687.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 196,267 shares of company stock worth $3,709,445. Company insiders own 1.67% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Clearbridge Investments LLC raised its position in shares of Nuance Communications by 1.7% in the first quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 25,590,805 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $442,977,000 after buying an additional 430,377 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Nuance Communications by 5.6% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 22,953,274 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $397,322,000 after buying an additional 1,222,707 shares during the period. Primecap Management Co. CA raised its position in shares of Nuance Communications by 0.6% in the first quarter. Primecap Management Co. CA now owns 11,901,565 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $206,016,000 after buying an additional 71,216 shares during the period. FIL Ltd raised its position in shares of Nuance Communications by 8.0% in the first quarter. FIL Ltd now owns 9,240,823 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $159,959,000 after buying an additional 680,563 shares during the period. Finally, Neuberger Berman Group LLC raised its position in shares of Nuance Communications by 2.0% in the first quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 4,750,025 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $82,223,000 after buying an additional 94,472 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 84.01% of the company’s stock.

The stock’s market cap is $4.81 billion. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $17.59 and a 200 day moving average price of $17.40.

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About Nuance Communications

Nuance Communications, Inc is a provider of voice recognition and natural language understanding solutions. The Company’s segments include Healthcare, Mobile, Enterprise and Imaging. The Healthcare segment provides clinical speech and clinical language understanding solutions. The solutions for the Healthcare segment include transcription solutions, Dragon Medical, and clinical document improvement (CDI) and coding solutions.

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