Zacks: Brokerages Anticipate Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX) Will Announce Earnings of $1.60 Per Share

Wall Street analysts forecast that Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX) will announce earnings of $1.60 per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Seven analysts have provided estimates for Quest Diagnostics’ earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $1.65 and the lowest is $1.58. Quest Diagnostics reported earnings per share of $1.36 during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 17.6%. The firm is scheduled to report its next earnings report before the market opens on Thursday, January 30th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Quest Diagnostics will report full-year earnings of $6.49 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.48 to $6.53. For the next financial year, analysts forecast that the firm will post earnings of $6.73 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.55 to $6.85. Zacks’ EPS averages are an average based on a survey of analysts that cover Quest Diagnostics.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, October 22nd. The medical research company reported $1.76 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.71 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $1.96 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.94 billion. Quest Diagnostics had a return on equity of 15.32% and a net margin of 9.58%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.68 EPS.

A number of analysts have recently commented on DGX shares. Barclays downgraded Quest Diagnostics from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a $106.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Tuesday, January 7th. ValuEngine downgraded Quest Diagnostics from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, November 29th. UBS Group dropped their price objective on Quest Diagnostics from $103.00 to $102.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 21st. Zacks Investment Research raised Quest Diagnostics from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $111.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Monday, September 30th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co started coverage on Quest Diagnostics in a research note on Tuesday, January 7th. They issued an “underweight” rating and a $100.00 price objective on the stock. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the stock. Quest Diagnostics has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $106.07.

DGX opened at $107.34 on Wednesday. Quest Diagnostics has a one year low of $82.59 and a one year high of $108.95. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56, a quick ratio of 0.83 and a current ratio of 0.88. The stock’s fifty day moving average is $106.37 and its 200-day moving average is $103.83. The company has a market capitalization of $14.42 billion, a PE ratio of 20.10, a P/E/G ratio of 2.10 and a beta of 0.85.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 29th. Investors of record on Tuesday, January 14th will be issued a $0.53 dividend. This represents a $2.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.98%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, January 13th. Quest Diagnostics’s payout ratio is 33.60%.

In related news, SVP Michael E. Prevoznik sold 44,556 shares of Quest Diagnostics stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $107.43, for a total value of $4,786,651.08. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 51,321 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,513,415.03. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Gail R. Wilensky sold 8,000 shares of Quest Diagnostics stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $107.17, for a total value of $857,360.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 22,951 shares in the company, valued at $2,459,658.67. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.86% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of DGX. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. lifted its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 588.5% in the 3rd quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 517,310 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $55,368,000 after purchasing an additional 442,179 shares during the period. Millennium Management LLC increased its holdings in Quest Diagnostics by 5,453.7% during the 3rd quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 429,804 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $46,001,000 after purchasing an additional 422,065 shares in the last quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC increased its holdings in Quest Diagnostics by 10,690.1% during the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 422,649 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $43,030,000 after purchasing an additional 418,732 shares in the last quarter. Squarepoint Ops LLC increased its holdings in Quest Diagnostics by 637.4% during the 3rd quarter. Squarepoint Ops LLC now owns 233,541 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $24,996,000 after purchasing an additional 201,868 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Hexavest Inc. bought a new position in Quest Diagnostics during the 4th quarter worth about $20,518,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 88.15% of the company’s stock.

About Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated provides diagnostic testing, information, and services in the United States and internationally. The company develops and delivers diagnostic testing information and services, such as routine testing, non-routine and advanced clinical testing, anatomic pathology testing, and other diagnostic information services.

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