Moody’s Corp. (MCO) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research
Moody’s Corp. (NYSE:MCO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has a $121.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target would suggest a potential upside of 11.64% from the company’s previous close.
According to Zacks, “Moody’s remains a solid franchise in rating debt instruments based on its diversified credit research business model and international growth opportunities. Sustained growth should come from strong potential in the analytics business and diversified client base. Recently, driven by higher issuance activity and its cost containment efforts, Moody's has raised its earnings expectations for the current year whereas revenues are expected to be up in low single digits as projected earlier. Estimates have been going up ahead of the company’s third quarter earnings release. However, regulatory concerns and stiff competition remain headwinds going ahead.”
A number of other research firms have also recently weighed in on MCO. Barclays PLC restated an “overweight” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Moody’s Corp. in a research report on Tuesday, June 28th. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a “hold” rating and set a $96.00 price objective on shares of Moody’s Corp. in a research report on Friday, July 22nd. Morgan Stanley set a $112.00 price objective on shares of Moody’s Corp. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, August 5th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “market perform” rating and set a $112.00 price objective (up from $104.00) on shares of Moody’s Corp. in a research report on Friday, September 30th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG started coverage on shares of Moody’s Corp. in a research report on Monday, July 11th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $99.00 price objective for the company. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, four have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Moody’s Corp. presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $109.29.
Moody’s Corp. (NYSE:MCO) traded up 0.67% during trading on Wednesday, hitting $109.11. 233,486 shares of the company were exchanged. The company has a market capitalization of $20.98 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.37 and a beta of 1.35. Moody’s Corp. has a 12 month low of $77.76 and a 12 month high of $110.83. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $107.76 and its 200-day moving average is $100.66.
Moody’s Corp. (NYSE:MCO) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 22nd. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.03. The company earned $928.90 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $909.08 million. Moody’s Corp. had a net margin of 25.81% and a negative return on equity of 273.01%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.28 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that Moody’s Corp. will post $4.61 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, September 12th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 22nd were paid a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.37%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 18th. Moody’s Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 33.18%.
In other news, EVP John J. Goggins sold 24,250 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.53, for a total value of $2,534,852.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 75,291 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,870,168.23. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, SVP Blair Worrall sold 11,054 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $103.39, for a total transaction of $1,142,873.06. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 13,062 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,350,480.18. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.48% of the company’s stock.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of MCO. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its position in Moody’s Corp. by 23.4% in the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 185,803 shares of the company’s stock valued at $17,411,000 after buying an additional 35,229 shares during the last quarter. Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund acquired a new position in Moody’s Corp. during the second quarter valued at approximately $640,000. Kentucky Retirement Systems acquired a new position in Moody’s Corp. during the second quarter valued at approximately $1,347,000. Mason Street Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Moody’s Corp. during the second quarter valued at approximately $2,134,000. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada raised its position in Moody’s Corp. by 2.1% in the second quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 245,242 shares of the company’s stock valued at $22,983,000 after buying an additional 5,136 shares during the last quarter. 86.91% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Moody’s Corp.
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 outsourced research and analytical services to financial institution customers.
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