MarketAxess (MKTX) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Buy”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of MarketAxess (NASDAQ:MKTX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $261.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “The stock of MarketAxess Holdings  have outperformed its industry in a year's time. The company's revenues have been consistently rising over the past several years on the back of a steady increase in commission. Its growth strategies such as acquisitions and alliances have also contributed to its top-line improvement. Its product suite of the highly demanded U.S. high-grade floating rate and other credit bonds are likely to broaden its scope for volume growth. Escalating costs remain a concern. Moreover, with the ongoing investments in several areas, the expenses are going to increase in the upcoming quarters.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on MKTX. BidaskClub raised MarketAxess from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 12th. Buckingham Research initiated coverage on MarketAxess in a research report on Thursday, January 10th. They issued a neutral rating for the company. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $218.00.

NASDAQ:MKTX opened at $235.62 on Tuesday. MarketAxess has a 1 year low of $172.09 and a 1 year high of $246.14. The firm has a market capitalization of $9.64 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 51.56, a PEG ratio of 9.22 and a beta of 0.20.

MarketAxess (NASDAQ:MKTX) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, January 30th. The financial services provider reported $1.21 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.06. MarketAxess had a return on equity of 30.31% and a net margin of 39.69%. The business had revenue of $112.44 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $112.37 million. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.88 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 14.1% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities analysts predict that MarketAxess will post 5.15 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, February 27th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, February 13th were given a $0.51 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, February 12th. This is a boost from MarketAxess’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.42. This represents a $2.04 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.87%. MarketAxess’s payout ratio is 44.64%.

In other news, Director John Steinhardt sold 3,187 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $215.62, for a total value of $687,180.94. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 24,899 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,368,722.38. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CFO Antonio L. Delise sold 8,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $231.99, for a total value of $1,855,920.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 36,901 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,560,662.99. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 31,187 shares of company stock worth $6,961,901 over the last three months. Insiders own 3.52% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of MKTX. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in shares of MarketAxess in the 4th quarter worth $84,529,000. Baillie Gifford & Co. increased its stake in shares of MarketAxess by 9.1% in the 4th quarter. Baillie Gifford & Co. now owns 4,018,282 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $849,103,000 after purchasing an additional 335,795 shares in the last quarter. Capital International Investors purchased a new stake in shares of MarketAxess in the 3rd quarter worth $39,268,000. Capital World Investors increased its stake in shares of MarketAxess by 9.8% in the 3rd quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 1,875,100 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $334,687,000 after purchasing an additional 167,500 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Alliancebernstein L.P. increased its stake in shares of MarketAxess by 23.6% in the 3rd quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 792,307 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $141,419,000 after purchasing an additional 151,439 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 92.72% of the company’s stock.

About MarketAxess

MarketAxess Holdings Inc, together with its subsidiaries, operates an electronic trading platform that enables fixed-income market participants to trade corporate bonds and other types of fixed-income instruments worldwide. It offers institutional investor and broker-dealer firms the access to global liquidity in U.S.

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