Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report published on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Over the last year, Quest Diagnostics has been trading above the broader industry. The company’s earnings in the last reported quarter exceeded the estimates, 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.”

Several other research firms have also weighed in on DGX. Raymond James Financial, Inc. reissued a market perform rating on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research note on Monday, September 25th. BidaskClub cut Quest Diagnostics from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, July 24th. Bank of America Corporation raised Quest Diagnostics from a neutral rating to a buy rating and raised their target price for the stock from $111.00 to $118.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 25th. Credit Suisse Group decreased their target price on Quest Diagnostics from $110.00 to $99.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, September 28th. Finally, ValuEngine raised Quest Diagnostics from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Quest Diagnostics has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $110.41.

Quest Diagnostics (DGX) traded down 0.02% during trading on Tuesday, hitting $92.42. The stock had a trading volume of 1,160,643 shares. Quest Diagnostics has a 1-year low of $79.12 and a 1-year high of $112.97. The stock has a market cap of $12.61 billion, a PE ratio of 18.63 and a beta of 0.65. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $102.30 and its 200-day moving average price is $105.00.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 25th. The medical research company reported $1.55 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.42 by $0.13. The business had revenue of $1.94 billion during 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 company’s revenue was up 1.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.34 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that Quest Diagnostics will post $5.66 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 18th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, October 3rd will be paid a $0.45 dividend. This represents a $1.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.95%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, October 2nd. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 36.29%.

In related news, CEO Stephen H. Rusckowski sold 53,933 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $108.16, for a total value of $5,833,393.28. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 220,049 shares in the company, valued at approximately $23,800,499.84. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Jeffrey M. Leiden sold 296 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $106.66, for a total transaction of $31,571.36. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 6,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $639,960. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 161,996 shares of company stock valued at $17,517,207 in the last 90 days. 1.75% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 39.6% in the 1st quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 622,554 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $61,129,000 after buying an additional 176,609 shares during the period. Martingale Asset Management L P acquired a new position in shares of Quest Diagnostics in the 1st quarter valued at $474,000. Pacer Advisors Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 3.2% in the 1st quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 2,507 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $246,000 after buying an additional 77 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 29.5% in the 1st quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 464,831 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $45,643,000 after buying an additional 105,852 shares during the period. Finally, Blair William & Co. IL acquired a new position in shares of Quest Diagnostics in the 1st quarter valued at $234,000. Institutional investors own 87.10% 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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Analyst Recommendations for Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX)

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