Clearstead Advisors LLC decreased its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX – Get Rating) by 48.5% during the third quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The institutional investor owned 2,045 shares of the medical research company’s stock after selling 1,929 shares during the period. Clearstead Advisors LLC’s holdings in Quest Diagnostics were worth $251,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Wagner Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the second quarter valued at approximately $27,000. Global Retirement Partners LLC grew its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 154.7% during the third quarter. Global Retirement Partners LLC now owns 219 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $31,000 after buying an additional 133 shares during the last quarter. Hallmark Capital Management Inc. bought a new position in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the third quarter valued at approximately $31,000. Chilton Capital Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the second quarter valued at approximately $36,000. Finally, Guardian Wealth Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the third quarter valued at approximately $37,000. Institutional investors own 88.79% of the company’s stock.
Wall Street Analysts Forecast Growth
Several brokerages recently issued reports on DGX. StockNews.com cut Quest Diagnostics from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, February 3rd. Mizuho upped their target price on Quest Diagnostics from $160.00 to $165.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, December 14th. Citigroup lowered Quest Diagnostics from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and lowered their target price for the stock from $145.00 to $125.00 in a report on Thursday, November 17th. Evercore ISI began coverage on Quest Diagnostics in a report on Monday, January 23rd. They set an “inline” rating and a $159.00 target price for the company. Finally, Credit Suisse Group upped their target price on Quest Diagnostics from $143.00 to $146.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 25th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat, Quest Diagnostics currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $150.00.
Quest Diagnostics Stock Performance
Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX – Get Rating) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 2nd. The medical research company reported $1.98 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.90 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $2.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.26 billion. Quest Diagnostics had a return on equity of 18.84% and a net margin of 9.57%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 15.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $3.33 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that Quest Diagnostics Incorporated will post 8.69 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Quest Diagnostics Increases Dividend
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 24th. Investors of record on Monday, April 10th will be paid a $0.71 dividend. This is a positive change from Quest Diagnostics’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, April 6th. This represents a $2.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.12%. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 33.33%.
Quest Diagnostics announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program on Thursday, February 2nd that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the medical research company to repurchase up to 6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.
Insider Buying and Selling
In related news, SVP Michael E. Prevoznik sold 1,415 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $141.42, for a total value of $200,109.30. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 39,440 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,577,604.80. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 1.70% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
About Quest Diagnostics
Quest Diagnostics, Inc engages in the provision of diagnostic testing, information and services. It operates through the Diagnostic Information Services (DIS) and All Other segments. The DIS segment offers diagnostic information services to patients, clinicians, hospitals, health plans, and employers.
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