Coho Partners Ltd. decreased its stake in Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX) by 24.1% during the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 146,632 shares of the medical research company’s stock after selling 46,582 shares during the quarter. Coho Partners Ltd.’s holdings in Quest Diagnostics were worth $18,819,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 1.0% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,464,215 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $1,366,191,000 after acquiring an additional 113,416 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 2.3% during the 4th quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,517,648 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $300,028,000 after acquiring an additional 55,410 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 4.3% during the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,927,478 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $229,685,000 after acquiring an additional 79,856 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 11.6% during the 4th quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,877,995 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $223,799,000 after acquiring an additional 194,810 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Nordea Investment Management AB raised its position in Quest Diagnostics by 19.8% during the 4th quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 1,730,977 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $206,281,000 after purchasing an additional 286,486 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 85.71% of the company’s stock.
Several brokerages have recently commented on DGX. Citigroup raised their target price on Quest Diagnostics from $151.00 to $158.00 in a research note on Friday, January 29th. Robert W. Baird reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $137.00 target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Thursday, March 18th. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased their price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics from $130.00 to $136.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 18th. Nine equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $130.38.
Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last released its earnings results on Thursday, April 22nd. The medical research company reported $3.76 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $3.77 by ($0.01). The business had revenue of $2.72 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.66 billion. Quest Diagnostics had a net margin of 13.22% and a return on equity of 19.23%. The company’s revenue was up 49.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.94 EPS. As a group, analysts predict that Quest Diagnostics Incorporated will post 10.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, April 21st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, April 7th were given a $0.62 dividend. This represents a $2.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.86%. This is a boost from Quest Diagnostics’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, April 6th. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio is 37.80%.
Quest Diagnostics announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Thursday, February 4th that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the medical research company to purchase up to 6.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.
In other Quest Diagnostics news, SVP Michael E. Prevoznik sold 5,574 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $120.47, for a total value of $671,499.78. Also, SVP Michael E. Prevoznik sold 1,188 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $116.95, for a total value of $138,936.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 42,596 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,981,602.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
About Quest Diagnostics
Quest Diagnostics Incorporated provides diagnostic testing, information, and services in the United States and internationally. The company develops and delivers diagnostic information services, such as routine testing, non-routine and advanced clinical testing, anatomic pathology testing, and other diagnostic information services.
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