Morgan Stanley Upgrades Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) to “Equal Weight”

Morgan Stanley upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) from an underweight rating to an equal weight rating in a report released on Wednesday, March 14th, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Morgan Stanley currently has $103.00 target price on the medical research company’s stock.

A number of other analysts have also recently commented on the company. Credit Suisse Group upgraded Quest Diagnostics from a neutral rating to an outperform rating and set a $107.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Tuesday, February 13th. Evercore ISI initiated coverage on Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. They issued an in-line rating and a $103.00 price objective for the company. Canaccord Genuity restated a buy rating and issued a $110.00 price objective on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Tuesday, January 16th. Jefferies Group set a $98.00 price target on Quest Diagnostics and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Saturday, November 25th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered Quest Diagnostics from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 7th. Fourteen research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $108.90.

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DGX stock traded down $2.48 during trading on Wednesday, hitting $97.35. 903,409 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 862,170. The company has a current ratio of 1.24, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.76. The stock has a market cap of $13,204.36, a P/E ratio of 18.03, a P/E/G ratio of 1.75 and a beta of 0.70. Quest Diagnostics has a 1 year low of $90.10 and a 1 year high of $112.96.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The medical research company reported $1.40 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.37 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $1.94 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.93 billion. Quest Diagnostics had a return on equity of 15.41% and a net margin of 10.00%. Quest Diagnostics’s quarterly revenue was up 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.31 earnings per share. research analysts predict that Quest Diagnostics will post 6.59 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, April 18th. Investors of record on Wednesday, April 4th will be issued a $0.50 dividend. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.05%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, April 3rd. This is an increase from Quest Diagnostics’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.45. Quest Diagnostics’s payout ratio is currently 37.04%.

In related news, Chairman Stephen H. Rusckowski sold 106,840 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, January 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $107.00, for a total value of $11,431,880.00. Following the sale, the chairman now owns 272,956 shares in the company, valued at approximately $29,206,292. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, SVP Catherine T. Doherty sold 21,294 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.00, for a total value of $2,214,576.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 90,709 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,433,736. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 228,147 shares of company stock worth $24,032,439 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 1.75% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of DGX. Wagner Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in Quest Diagnostics during the 4th quarter worth about $106,000. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Quest Diagnostics during the 4th quarter worth about $118,000. Cerebellum GP LLC acquired a new position in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the 4th quarter worth about $128,000. Assetmark Inc. boosted its position in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 139.5% during the 4th quarter. Assetmark Inc. now owns 1,473 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $145,000 after acquiring an additional 858 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Icon Wealth Partners LLC acquired a new position in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the 4th quarter worth about $147,000. Institutional investors own 88.63% of the company’s stock.

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Quest Diagnostics Company Profile

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated provides diagnostic testing information and services in the United States and internationally. The company's Diagnostic Information Services business segment develops and delivers diagnostic testing information and services, such as routine testing, non-routine and advanced clinical testing, gene-based and esoteric testing, anatomic pathology, and other diagnostic information services.

Analyst Recommendations for Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX)

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