Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) Lifted to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Wednesday, January 10th.

According to Zacks, “The strength in the Nielsen's Watch segment continues to be a strong revenue driver for the company. Its third-quarter 2017 diluted net earnings increased significantly year over year. Continued dividend payment and share repurchase reflect Nielsen’s financial strength and commitment to return value to shareholders. Also, the company's product launches are progressing well and should drive revenues in the near term. However, continued investments in technology and infrastructure could weigh on margins and profitability, going forward. In the past 12 months, the stock has underperformed the industry it belongs to.”

NLSN has been the topic of a number of other research reports. BidaskClub cut Nielsen from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Morgan Stanley dropped their price objective on Nielsen from $49.00 to $47.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a report on Friday, November 10th. Robert W. Baird raised Nielsen from a neutral rating to an outperform rating in a report on Monday, January 8th. Goldman Sachs Group initiated coverage on Nielsen in a report on Wednesday, November 8th. They set a neutral rating and a $40.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Needham & Company LLC reissued a buy rating on shares of Nielsen in a report on Friday, October 27th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $43.25.

Nielsen (NYSE NLSN) traded down $0.36 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $37.10. The stock had a trading volume of 3,042,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,971,580. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.88, a current ratio of 1.41 and a quick ratio of 1.41. The company has a market cap of $13,342.05, a P/E ratio of 26.13, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.84 and a beta of 0.94. Nielsen has a 12 month low of $34.22 and a 12 month high of $45.73.

Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 25th. The business services provider reported $0.60 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.64 by ($0.04). Nielsen had a return on equity of 14.79% and a net margin of 7.84%. analysts predict that Nielsen will post 2.54 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, SVP Jeffrey Charlton sold 3,080 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.01, for a total transaction of $110,910.80. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 10,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $363,701. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Luca Guerrino De acquired 1,369 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 13th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $36.54 per share, for a total transaction of $50,023.26. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Company insiders own 0.67% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in NLSN. Capital Research Global Investors raised its holdings in shares of Nielsen by 21.2% during the 2nd quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 38,007,292 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,469,362,000 after buying an additional 6,648,088 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC grew its position in Nielsen by 274.4% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 3,952,896 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $152,819,000 after acquiring an additional 2,897,137 shares during the last quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company grew its position in Nielsen by 143.0% during the 2nd quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 4,877,253 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $188,555,000 after acquiring an additional 2,870,282 shares during the last quarter. Parnassus Investments CA bought a new position in Nielsen during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $103,625,000. Finally, Vontobel Asset Management Inc. grew its position in Nielsen by 51.2% during the 4th quarter. Vontobel Asset Management Inc. now owns 6,898,520 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $257,335,000 after acquiring an additional 2,334,866 shares during the last quarter. 95.63% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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Nielsen Company Profile

Nielsen N.V. (Nielsen), formerly Nielsen Holdings N.V., is an information and measurement company. The Company is engaged in providing clients with an understanding of consumers and consumer behavior. The Company delivers media and marketing information, and analytics on a global and local basis. Nielsen operates through two business segments: Buy and Watch.

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