Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX) Lifted to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Monday, November 6th.

According to Zacks, “Quest Diagnostics’ third-quarter earnings topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while revenues remained in line. The company is currently focusing on its core diagnostic information services business and working on disciplined capital deployment. It is witnessing significant growth through infectious disease testing, prescription drug monitoring and wellness. Also several new collaborations with hospitals and integrated delivery networks continue to act as major growth drivers. We are looking forward to the recent partnership with Cleveland Clinic which includes the acquisition of Cleveland HeartLab. Over the last year, Quest Diagnostics was trading above the industry. On the flip side, the company faced major sales disruption in the third quarter due to the hurricanes. Accordingly, it has reduced the upper-end of its 2017 earnings guidance range which is disappointing. Tough competitive landscape and reimbursement headwind are other woes.”

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on DGX. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $110.00 price target (up previously from $83.00) on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research note on Thursday, July 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. BidaskClub cut shares of Quest Diagnostics from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Sunday, July 16th. Barclays PLC restated a “hold” rating and set a $110.00 price objective on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Wednesday, July 19th. Piper Jaffray Companies upped their price objective on shares of Quest Diagnostics to $107.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 25th. Finally, Bank of America Corporation upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $111.00 to $118.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 25th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $106.18.

Shares of Quest Diagnostics (DGX) traded down $0.92 during trading on Monday, hitting $91.62. 634,803 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,340,000. Quest Diagnostics has a fifty-two week low of $86.11 and a fifty-two week high of $112.96. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 1.37 and a current ratio of 1.47. The firm has a market cap of $12,370.00, a PE ratio of 16.58, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.93 and a beta of 0.59.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 19th. The medical research company reported $1.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.35 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $1.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.92 billion. Quest Diagnostics had a net margin of 9.06% and a return on equity of 13.61%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.37 EPS. analysts expect that Quest Diagnostics will post 5.65 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Quest Diagnostics news, CEO Stephen H. Rusckowski sold 53,933 shares of Quest Diagnostics stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $108.16, for a total transaction of $5,833,393.28. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 220,049 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $23,800,499.84. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Daniel Stanzione sold 3,803 shares of Quest Diagnostics stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $108.01, for a total transaction of $410,762.03. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 35,359 shares in the company, valued at $3,819,125.59. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 160,396 shares of company stock worth $17,343,852 over the last three months. Corporate insiders own 1.75% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in DGX. WFG Advisors LP raised its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 45.3% during the second quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 966 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $107,000 after purchasing an additional 301 shares during the period. Sun Life Financial INC raised its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 14,142.9% during the second quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 997 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $111,000 after purchasing an additional 990 shares during the period. Parallel Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 0.9% during the second quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 1,291 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $140,000 after purchasing an additional 12 shares during the period. Acrospire Investment Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 300.0% during the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,600 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $178,000 after purchasing an additional 1,200 shares during the period. Finally, Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the second quarter valued at approximately $180,000. 88.52% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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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