Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (DGX) Upgraded to Hold by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday morning.

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.”

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the company. BidaskClub upgraded Quest Diagnostics from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, August 15th. Barclays PLC restated a hold rating and issued a $110.00 target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Canaccord Genuity restated a buy rating and issued a $118.00 target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Wednesday, September 13th. Piper Jaffray Companies increased their target price on Quest Diagnostics to $107.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a report on Tuesday, July 25th. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased their price objective on Quest Diagnostics from $87.00 to $92.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a report on Thursday, August 10th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $106.18.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE DGX) traded down $0.36 on Monday, hitting $92.66. The stock had a trading volume of 51,709 shares, compared to its average volume of 975,567. The stock has a market capitalization of $12,696.29, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.69, a P/E/G ratio of 1.94 and a beta of 0.59. Quest Diagnostics has a one year low of $80.83 and a one year high of $112.96. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78, a current ratio of 1.47 and a quick ratio of 1.37.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 19th. The medical research company reported $1.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.35 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $1.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.92 billion. Quest Diagnostics had a return on equity of 15.53% and a net margin of 8.82%. 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 company earned $1.37 earnings per share. equities analysts expect that Quest Diagnostics will post 5.65 earnings per share for the current year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, October 18th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, October 3rd were given a dividend of $0.45 per share. This represents a $1.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.94%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, October 2nd. Quest Diagnostics’s payout ratio is 37.74%.

In other news, Director Daniel Stanzione sold 3,803 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $108.01, for a total value of $410,762.03. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 35,359 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,819,125.59. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Chairman Stephen H. Rusckowski sold 59,235 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $108.16, for a total value of $6,406,857.60. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 220,049 shares in the company, valued at $23,800,499.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 160,396 shares of company stock worth $17,343,852 over the last three months. Company insiders own 1.75% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 4.1% in the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 1,555,029 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $145,612,000 after purchasing an additional 60,793 shares during the last quarter. Picton Mahoney Asset Management grew its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 4.2% in the third quarter. Picton Mahoney Asset Management now owns 112,100 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $10,496,000 after purchasing an additional 4,500 shares during the last quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group grew its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 1.7% in the third quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 590,844 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $54,334,000 after purchasing an additional 10,102 shares during the last quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS grew its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 9.1% in the third quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 11,093 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $1,039,000 after purchasing an additional 928 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Achmea Investment Management B.V. grew its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 4.3% in the third quarter. Achmea Investment Management B.V. now owns 55,590 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $5,203,000 after purchasing an additional 2,310 shares during the last quarter. 89.02% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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