Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX) Raised to Buy at Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning. The brokerage currently has $123.00 target price on the medical research company’s stock.
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 several other research reports. UBS AG reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $115.00 price target (up previously from $102.00) on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Tuesday, April 25th. Mizuho reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $90.00 price target (down previously from $103.00) on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Friday, April 14th. BidaskClub raised Quest Diagnostics from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report on Thursday, June 29th. ValuEngine raised Quest Diagnostics from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Finally, Barclays PLC reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $110.00 price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Wednesday, July 19th. Nine analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eight have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $110.84.
Shares of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE DGX) opened at 109.51 on Thursday. The company has a market cap of $14.94 billion, a PE ratio of 22.07 and a beta of 0.70. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $109.16 and its 200-day moving average price is $102.05. Quest Diagnostics has a 12 month low of $79.12 and a 12 month high of $112.96.
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 Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.42 by $0.13. The firm had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.94 billion. Quest Diagnostics had a return on equity of 15.66% and a net margin of 9.28%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 1.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.34 EPS. Equities analysts predict that Quest Diagnostics will post $5.67 EPS for the current fiscal year.
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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 24th. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 10th were paid a dividend of $0.45 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, July 6th. This represents a $1.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.64%. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio is currently 36.29%.
In other news, SVP Catherine T. Doherty sold 59,762 shares of Quest Diagnostics stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $107.55, for a total transaction of $6,427,403.10. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 78,582 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,451,494.10. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.
Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd increased its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 1.4% in the first quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 45,053 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $4,423,000 after buying an additional 625 shares during the period. Creative Planning increased its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 30.8% in the first quarter. Creative Planning now owns 4,159 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $408,000 after buying an additional 980 shares during the period. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. increased its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 628.7% in the first quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 2,718 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $267,000 after buying an additional 2,345 shares during the period. Acropolis Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 3.5% in the first quarter. Acropolis Investment Management LLC now owns 8,025 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $788,000 after buying an additional 275 shares during the period. Finally, Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. increased its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 2.3% in the first quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 118,823 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $11,667,000 after buying an additional 2,668 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.38% of the company’s stock.
Quest Diagnostics Company Profile
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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