Moody's Co. (NYSE:MCO) – Investment analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald increased their FY2018 earnings estimates for Moody's in a research note issued to investors on Monday. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst J. Foresi now expects that the business services provider will post earnings of $7.76 per share for the year, up from their prior forecast of $6.42. Cantor Fitzgerald has a “Neutral” rating and a $155.00 price objective on the stock.

Moody's (NYSE:MCO) last announced its earnings results on Friday, February 9th. The business services provider reported $1.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.45 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $1.17 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.07 billion. Moody's had a negative return on equity of 319.45% and a net margin of 23.80%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 23.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.23 EPS.

Several other brokerages have also recently issued reports on MCO. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $187.00 target price (up previously from $161.00) on shares of Moody's in a research report on Monday. Argus raised their price objective on Moody's to $165.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 9th. Stifel Nicolaus began coverage on Moody's in a research report on Tuesday, December 19th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $167.00 price objective for the company. BMO Capital Markets raised their price objective on Moody's from $143.00 to $146.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Monday, November 6th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co set a $160.00 price objective on Moody's and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Monday. Eight analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, four have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $161.42.

Shares of Moody's (MCO) traded up $0.94 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $162.54. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 219,423 shares, compared to its average volume of 849,902. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of -48.22, a current ratio of 1.25 and a quick ratio of 1.15. The company has a market cap of $30,422.48, a PE ratio of 31.38, a PEG ratio of 2.24 and a beta of 1.36. Moody's has a 1-year low of $109.00 and a 1-year high of $167.23.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of Moody's by 2.2% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 10,557,911 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,558,454,000 after buying an additional 228,277 shares during the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Moody's by 0.7% during the 3rd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 5,128,216 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $713,898,000 after buying an additional 33,723 shares during the last quarter. Capital International Investors raised its stake in shares of Moody's by 1.0% during the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 3,287,478 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $457,650,000 after buying an additional 31,978 shares during the last quarter. Investec Asset Management LTD raised its stake in shares of Moody's by 2.8% during the 3rd quarter. Investec Asset Management LTD now owns 1,994,294 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $277,626,000 after buying an additional 55,053 shares during the last quarter. Finally, APG Asset Management N.V. raised its stake in shares of Moody's by 1.9% during the 3rd quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 1,863,438 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $259,409,000 after buying an additional 34,200 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 87.31% of the company’s stock.

In other Moody's news, Director Ewald Kist sold 4,000 shares of Moody's stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $142.00, for a total transaction of $568,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Darrell Duffie sold 500 shares of Moody's stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $147.93, for a total value of $73,965.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 21,336 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,156,234.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 5,005 shares of company stock valued at $716,738 in the last 90 days. 1.17% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, March 12th. Investors of record on Tuesday, February 20th will be paid a $0.44 dividend. This is a positive change from Moody's’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, February 16th. This represents a $1.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.08%. Moody's’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 29.51%.

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About Moody's

Moody’s Corporation (Moody’s) is a provider of credit ratings; credit, capital markets and economic related research, data and analytical tools; software solutions and related risk management services, quantitative credit risk measures, financial services training and certification services, and research and analytical services to financial institution customers.

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