Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Quest Diagnostics’ second-quarter earnings exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while revenues lagged the same. On a positive note, it has witnessed significant growth through infectious disease testing, prescription drug monitoring and wellness business. It is currently refocusing on core diagnostic information services business and disciplined capital deployment. Finally, the raised 2017 guidance indicates about this bullish trend to continue ahead. In addition, alliance with hospitals and integrated delivery networks are the other growth drivers. Particularly, the company is positive about its acquisition of PeaceHealth in the Pacific Northwest which is expected to bolster growth in the rest 2017. However, we are concerned about tough organic volume scenario. Tough competitive landscape and reimbursement headwinds are other concerns. Notably, over the last three months, Quest Diagnostics has been trading below the broader industry.”

DGX has been the topic of a number of other reports. UBS AG reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $115.00 price target (up from $102.00) on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research note on Tuesday, April 25th. Mizuho reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $90.00 price target (down from $103.00) on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research note on Friday, April 14th. BidaskClub raised shares of Quest Diagnostics from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Thursday, June 29th. ValuEngine raised shares of Quest Diagnostics from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Finally, Barclays PLC reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $110.00 price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. Nine analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $110.84.

Shares of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE DGX) opened at 108.31 on Friday. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $109.15 and its 200-day moving average price is $102.29. The stock has a market cap of $14.77 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.83 and a beta of 0.70. Quest Diagnostics has a 52-week low of $79.12 and a 52-week high of $112.97.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 25th. The medical research company reported $1.55 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.42 by $0.13. Quest Diagnostics had a net margin of 9.28% and a return on equity of 15.66%. The business had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.94 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.34 earnings per share. Quest Diagnostics’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Quest Diagnostics will post $5.67 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 24th. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 10th were given a $0.45 dividend. This represents a $1.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.66%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, July 6th. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio is currently 36.29%.

In other news, SVP Catherine T. Doherty sold 59,762 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $107.55, for a total value of $6,427,403.10. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 78,582 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,451,494.10. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Jeffrey M. Leiden sold 1,304 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $108.73, for a total value of $141,783.92. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 6,296 shares in the company, valued at $684,564.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of DGX. Renaissance Technologies LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the fourth quarter valued at about $5,413,000. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans increased its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 6.6% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 4,880 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $449,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. Quadrature Capital Ltd acquired a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the fourth quarter valued at about $1,226,000. Teachers Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 6.6% in the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 177,243 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $16,289,000 after buying an additional 11,003 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Kentucky Retirement Systems acquired a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the fourth quarter valued at about $925,000. 91.38% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is a provider of diagnostic information services. The Company operates through two businesses: Diagnostic Information Services and Diagnostic Solutions. The Diagnostic Information Services business develops and delivers diagnostic testing information and services, providing insights that empower and enable a range of customers, including patients, clinicians, hospitals, integrated delivery networks (IDNs), health plans, employers and accountable care organizations (ACOs).

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Analyst Recommendations for Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX)

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