Accenture PLC (ACN) Upgraded to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Accenture PLC (NYSE:ACN) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday morning. They currently have $151.00 target price on the information technology services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Accenture offers management consultancy, technology and outsourcing services. Shares of the company have outperformed the industry over the past year. We are positive about Accenture’s latest product additions in the analytics application space, given the increasing demand for digital solutions. Moreover, Accenture’s strategy of growing through partnerships like Apple and acquisitions like VERAX are encouraging. The strategies have enabled Accenture to enter new markets, diversify and broaden its product portfolio, and maintain its leading position. Nonetheless, Accenture’s recent announcement of creating 15K new jobs by 2020 and investment plan of $1.4 billion for employee training and opening of 10 innovation centers across the U.S. cities may dent its bottom-line results in our opinion. Furthermore, increasing competition from peers and an uncertain macroeconomic environment may deter its growth to some extent.”

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. Berenberg Bank set a $140.00 price target on shares of Accenture PLC and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, June 24th. Cowen and Company reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $135.00 price target on shares of Accenture PLC in a research note on Friday, July 28th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Accenture PLC from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, July 28th. Wells Fargo & Company reaffirmed an outperform rating and issued a $138.00 price target (up previously from $131.50) on shares of Accenture PLC in a research note on Friday, June 16th. Finally, Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a neutral rating and issued a $138.00 price target (up previously from $132.00) on shares of Accenture PLC in a research note on Wednesday, June 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, sixteen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $132.59.

Shares of Accenture PLC (ACN) opened at 135.35 on Thursday. Accenture PLC has a 52 week low of $109.12 and a 52 week high of $136.95. The company has a market cap of $83.64 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.97 and a beta of 1.11. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $130.42 and its 200-day moving average is $124.76.

Accenture PLC (NYSE:ACN) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 22nd. The information technology services provider reported $1.52 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.52. The company had revenue of $8.87 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $8.82 billion. Accenture PLC had a net margin of 9.92% and a return on equity of 43.96%. The firm’s revenue was up 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.41 EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Accenture PLC will post $5.90 earnings per share for the current year.

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In related news, insider Richard Lumb sold 2,200 shares of Accenture PLC stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $129.26, for a total value of $284,372.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 119,013 shares in the company, valued at approximately $15,383,620.38. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Gianfranco Casati sold 5,000 shares of Accenture PLC stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $130.00, for a total transaction of $650,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 56,014 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,281,820. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 79,817 shares of company stock valued at $9,920,929 over the last quarter. 0.21% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Accenture PLC by 2.3% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 48,468,073 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock worth $5,994,531,000 after purchasing an additional 1,088,676 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in Accenture PLC by 3.0% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 40,659,545 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock worth $5,028,772,000 after purchasing an additional 1,196,578 shares in the last quarter. Capital Research Global Investors boosted its stake in Accenture PLC by 2.2% in the 2nd quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 28,501,643 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock worth $3,525,083,000 after purchasing an additional 605,156 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp boosted its stake in Accenture PLC by 2.7% in the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 25,356,641 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock worth $3,039,762,000 after purchasing an additional 665,860 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Wellington Management Group LLP boosted its stake in Accenture PLC by 8.8% in the 1st quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 21,583,126 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock worth $2,587,385,000 after purchasing an additional 1,738,262 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 77.80% of the company’s stock.

About Accenture PLC

Accenture plc is a professional services company serving clients in various industries and in geographic regions, including North America, Europe and Growth Markets. The Company provides management and technology consulting services. Its segments include Communications, Media and Technology; Financial Services; Health and Public Service; Products, and Resources.

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