The Quest Diagnostics Inc. (DGX) Lifted to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

The Quest Diagnostics Inc. (DGX) Lifted to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics Inc. (NYSE:DGX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Monday. They currently have $104.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Ahead of its fourth quarter earnings release, we note that, over the past three months, Quest Diagnostics traded above the Zacks categorized Medical – Outpatient and Home Healthcare industry. The upside is backed by the successful execution of the company’s strategy to grow its esoteric testing and drive profitable growth. In the recent past, Quest Diagnostics witnessed significant growth through infectious disease testing, prescription drug monitoring and wellness business. Within prescription drug monitoring, the company currently has two new Zika tests that are awaiting FDA clearance. Besides, the company also piloted a program for noninvasive prenatal screening to serve women of average risk in select regions. We are also looking forward to the company's latest alliance with Ancestry. Also IBM and Quest Diagnostics’ combined launch of IBM Watson Genomics is also expected to have a positive impact on results in the fourth quarter.”

DGX has been the subject of a number of other reports. Canaccord Genuity set a $90.00 price target on Quest Diagnostics and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 20th. Mizuho reiterated a neutral rating and set a $88.00 price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Wednesday, November 30th. Bank of America Corp. reiterated a sell rating and set a $78.00 price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Monday, November 14th. Barclays PLC set a $85.00 price target on Quest Diagnostics and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Monday, November 14th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded Quest Diagnostics from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $102.00 price target for the company in a report on Monday, December 12th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Quest Diagnostics currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $88.71.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) opened at 92.96 on Monday. Quest Diagnostics has a 12-month low of $59.66 and a 12-month high of $93.84. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $91.44 and a 200-day moving average of $85.72. The firm has a market cap of $12.89 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.73 and a beta of 0.66.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 20th. The company reported $1.37 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.35 by $0.02. Quest Diagnostics had a return on equity of 14.57% and a net margin of 9.01%. The firm earned $1.89 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.53 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.28 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Quest Diagnostics will post $5.10 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 25th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, January 10th will be issued a dividend of $0.45 per share. This represents a $1.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.94%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, January 6th. This is a boost from Quest Diagnostics’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.40. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio is presently 38.30%.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in DGX. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. boosted its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 5.7% in the third quarter. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. now owns 426,322 shares of the company’s stock valued at $36,078,000 after buying an additional 23,150 shares during the last quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. boosted its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 47.2% in the second quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. now owns 217,486 shares of the company’s stock valued at $17,706,000 after buying an additional 69,734 shares during the last quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group boosted its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 63.6% in the second quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 2,521,800 shares of the company’s stock valued at $205,300,000 after buying an additional 980,063 shares during the last quarter. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC boosted its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 3,976.9% in the second quarter. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC now owns 579,537 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,399,000 after buying an additional 565,322 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BTC Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 5.5% in the third quarter. BTC Capital Management Inc. now owns 54,919 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,649,000 after buying an additional 2,869 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 86.60% of the company’s stock.

Quest Diagnostics Company Profile

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is a provider of diagnostic information services. The Company operates through two businesses: Diagnostic Information Services and Diagnostic Solutions. The Company’s Diagnostic Information Services business develops and delivers diagnostic testing information and services to patients, physicians, health plans, hospitals, accountable care organizations (ACOs), integrated delivery networks (IDNs), other commercial laboratories, employers and others.

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