Shares of Quest Diagnostics Inc. (NYSE:DGX) gapped up prior to trading on Monday following a dividend announcement from the company. The stock had previously closed at $79.68, but opened at $81.46. Quest Diagnostics shares last traded at $85.10, with a volume of 3,625,211 shares changing hands.

The newly announced dividend which will be paid on Wednesday, January 25th. Investors of record on Tuesday, January 10th will be given a dividend of $0.45 per share. This represents a $1.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.12%. This is a positive change from Quest Diagnostics’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.40. Quest Diagnostics’s payout ratio is 34.04%.

Several analysts recently issued reports on the stock. Bank of America Corp. restated a “sell” rating and set a $78.00 target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Monday. Canaccord Genuity set a $90.00 target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 20th. Mizuho boosted their target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics from $86.00 to $88.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, October 21st. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $93.00 target price for the company in a research report on Wednesday, September 21st. Finally, Citigroup Inc. assumed coverage on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Friday, September 9th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $86.00 target price for the company. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. Quest Diagnostics presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $82.23.

The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $82.97 and its 200-day moving average price is $81.40. The firm has a market cap of $11.80 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.06 and a beta of 0.62.

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

In other Quest Diagnostics news, Director Jenne K. Britell sold 4,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $84.76, for a total transaction of $339,040.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Company insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of DGX. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 1.8% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 12,912,806 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,051,231,000 after buying an additional 233,179 shares during the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 27.7% in the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 4,717,816 shares of the company’s stock worth $384,077,000 after buying an additional 1,022,240 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 1.8% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 4,265,792 shares of the company’s stock worth $361,014,000 after buying an additional 77,423 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 3.1% in the third quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 3,697,917 shares of the company’s stock worth $312,955,000 after buying an additional 111,679 shares during the last quarter. Finally, LSV Asset Management boosted its stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 1.3% in the second quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 3,532,644 shares of the company’s stock worth $287,592,000 after buying an additional 44,719 shares during the last quarter. 90.86% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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 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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:DGX

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