Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Friday, October 27th.

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 also recently issued reports on DGX. KeyCorp reissued a hold rating on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Friday, October 27th. Canaccord Genuity increased their price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics from $100.00 to $105.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Wells Fargo & Company lowered their price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics from $88.00 to $86.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a report on Friday, October 20th. Citigroup Inc. lowered their price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics from $110.00 to $98.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a report on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Mizuho set a $103.00 price objective on shares of Quest Diagnostics and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 19th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Quest Diagnostics has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $106.18.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE DGX) opened at $92.05 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 1.37 and a current ratio of 1.47. Quest Diagnostics has a 52 week low of $80.83 and a 52 week high of $112.96. The stock has a market cap of $12,678.57, a P/E ratio of 16.67, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.94 and a beta of 0.59.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 19th. The medical research company reported $1.39 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.35 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $1.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.92 billion. Quest Diagnostics had a net margin of 8.82% and a return on equity of 15.53%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 2.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.37 earnings per share. equities research analysts expect that Quest Diagnostics will post 5.65 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, October 18th. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 3rd were issued a $0.45 dividend. This represents a $1.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.96%. The ex-dividend date was Monday, October 2nd. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 37.74%.

In related news, Chairman Stephen H. Rusckowski sold 59,235 shares of Quest Diagnostics stock in a transaction that occurred on 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 transaction, the chairman now owns 220,049 shares in the company, valued at $23,800,499.84. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Stephen H. Rusckowski sold 53,933 shares of Quest Diagnostics stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $108.16, for a total transaction of $5,833,393.28. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 220,049 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $23,800,499.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 160,396 shares of company stock valued at $17,343,852 in the last 90 days. Company insiders own 1.75% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. WFG Advisors LP lifted its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 45.3% during the 2nd quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 966 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $107,000 after buying an additional 301 shares during the last quarter. Sun Life Financial INC lifted its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 14,142.9% during the 2nd quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 997 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 990 shares during the last quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC lifted its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 0.9% during the 2nd quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 1,291 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $140,000 after buying an additional 12 shares during the last quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 300.0% during the 2nd quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,600 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $178,000 after buying an additional 1,200 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $180,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 89.02% of the company’s stock.

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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