Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday.

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.”

Several other brokerages have also recently commented on DGX. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Thursday, June 29th. UBS AG boosted their price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics from $115.00 to $123.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, July 6th. Barclays PLC reiterated a hold rating and issued a $110.00 price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. Bank of America Corporation upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics from a neutral rating to a buy rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $111.00 to $118.00 in a research note on Tuesday, July 25th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies boosted their price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics to $107.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 25th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $106.18.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE DGX) opened at 93.78 on Friday. Quest Diagnostics has a 1-year low of $79.12 and a 1-year high of $112.96. The company has a market cap of $12.79 billion, a PE ratio of 18.90 and a beta of 0.66. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $96.26 and a 200-day moving average price of $104.50.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 19th. The medical research company reported $1.39 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.35 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $1.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations 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 previous year, the company earned $1.37 EPS. On average, analysts expect that Quest Diagnostics will post $5.64 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, October 18th. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 3rd were issued a dividend of $0.45 per share. The ex-dividend date was Monday, October 2nd. This represents a $1.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.92%. Quest Diagnostics’s payout ratio is 37.74%.

In other Quest Diagnostics news, Director Jeffrey M. Leiden sold 296 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $106.66, for a total value of $31,571.36. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 6,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $639,960. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Daniel Stanzione sold 3,803 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $108.01, for a total transaction of $410,762.03. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 35,359 shares in the company, valued at $3,819,125.59. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 160,692 shares of company stock worth $17,375,423 over the last quarter. 1.75% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of DGX. WFG Advisors LP grew its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 45.3% in the 2nd quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 966 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $107,000 after acquiring an additional 301 shares in the last quarter. Sun Life Financial INC grew its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 14,142.9% in the 2nd quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 997 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $111,000 after acquiring an additional 990 shares in the last quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC grew its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 0.9% in the 2nd quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 1,291 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $140,000 after acquiring an additional 12 shares in the last quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC grew its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 300.0% in the 2nd quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,600 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $178,000 after acquiring an additional 1,200 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC bought a new position in Quest Diagnostics in the 2nd quarter worth about $180,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 88.64% of the company’s stock.

About Quest Diagnostics

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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Analyst Recommendations for Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX)

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