Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Viacom is leaving no stone unturned to evolve from its struggles, which have been responsible for the stock underperforming the industry it belongs to in the last one year. The company is expected to perform well in the fiscal third quarter, detailed results of which will be out on Aug 3. Apart from the turnaround plan announced earlier this year, we are also impressed by Viacom's expansion plans. To this end, Viacom had inked a deal with Telefonica S.A in Nov 2016, to acquire Television Federal S.A. (Telefe). However, Viacom's high debt levels remain concerning. Moreover, the company's merger with CBS Corp. has been called off. This is a concern for investors as a merger would have been beneficial for Viacom and provided much needed cost synergies for the company.”

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a buy rating and set a $52.00 target price on shares of Viacom in a research report on Monday, April 17th. Pivotal Research reissued a hold rating and set a $40.00 target price on shares of Viacom in a research report on Sunday, April 23rd. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Viacom from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Cowen and Company reissued a hold rating and set a $41.00 target price on shares of Viacom in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reduced their target price on shares of Viacom from $44.00 to $42.00 and set a market perform rating for the company in a research report on Friday, May 5th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have given a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $43.14.

Shares of Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB) opened at 35.66 on Thursday. The firm has a market capitalization of $14.33 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.79 and a beta of 1.57. Viacom has a 12 month low of $32.68 and a 12 month high of $46.72. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $34.83 and its 200 day moving average is $39.50.

Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB) last released its earnings results on Thursday, May 4th. The company reported $0.79 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.20. Viacom had a net margin of 9.32% and a return on equity of 32.00%. The firm had revenue of $3.26 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.03 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.76 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 8.5% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Viacom will post $3.86 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 3rd. Stockholders of record on Thursday, June 15th were issued a $0.20 dividend. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.24%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, June 13th. Viacom’s payout ratio is 26.40%.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co raised its position in shares of Viacom by 15.8% in the first quarter. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co now owns 2,202 shares of the company’s stock worth $103,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp raised its position in Viacom by 9.4% in the first quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp now owns 2,616 shares of the company’s stock valued at $122,000 after buying an additional 225 shares in the last quarter. First Personal Financial Services raised its position in Viacom by 998.2% in the first quarter. First Personal Financial Services now owns 3,086 shares of the company’s stock valued at $144,000 after buying an additional 2,805 shares in the last quarter. Whittier Trust Co. raised its position in Viacom by 80.6% in the first quarter. Whittier Trust Co. now owns 3,192 shares of the company’s stock valued at $149,000 after buying an additional 1,425 shares in the last quarter. Finally, First Mercantile Trust Co. raised its position in Viacom by 56.9% in the first quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. now owns 3,374 shares of the company’s stock valued at $157,000 after buying an additional 1,223 shares in the last quarter. 76.57% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Viacom Company Profile

Viacom Inc offers global media brands that create television programs, motion pictures, short-form content, applications, games, consumer products, social media experiences and other entertainment content. As of September 30, 2016, the Company offered its services for audiences in more than 180 countries.

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Analyst Recommendations for Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB)

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