Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $54.00 price objective on the enterprise software provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Oracle is benefiting from significant momentum in the SaaS and PaaS offerings. This has also helped in improving the company's competitive position against salesforce.com and Workday. We believe the company’s growing cloud market share will continue to drive top-line growth for the foreseeable future. The stock has outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis driven by these factors. We believe the company’s growing cloud market share will continue to drive top-line growth for the foreseeable future. Moreover, Oracle continues to win new customers in HCM, ERP and CX. However, higher investments on IaaS will affect gross margin expansion in the near-term. Further, a strong U.S. dollar remains a headwind.”

Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the company. UBS AG reissued a buy rating and issued a $52.00 target price (up from $48.00) on shares of Oracle Corporation in a research report on Thursday, June 22nd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on Oracle Corporation from $48.00 to $57.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, June 22nd. Wedbush raised Oracle Corporation from a neutral rating to an outperform rating and cut their target price for the company from $56.00 to $44.00 in a research report on Thursday, June 22nd. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a buy rating and issued a $52.00 target price on shares of Oracle Corporation in a research report on Friday, May 19th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada upped their target price on Oracle Corporation from $47.00 to $53.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, June 22nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and thirty have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $50.81.

Shares of Oracle Corporation (NYSE ORCL) opened at 48.90 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $202.28 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.13 and a beta of 1.06. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $49.79 and a 200-day moving average price of $45.86. Oracle Corporation has a 12-month low of $37.62 and a 12-month high of $51.85.

Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, June 21st. The enterprise software provider reported $0.89 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.78 by $0.11. Oracle Corporation had a return on equity of 20.90% and a net margin of 24.74%. The firm had revenue of $10.94 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.45 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.81 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 3.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Oracle Corporation will post $2.96 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, August 2nd. Investors of record on Wednesday, July 19th were issued a $0.19 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, July 17th. This represents a $0.76 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.55%. Oracle Corporation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 34.55%.

In related news, CEO Mark V. Hurd sold 350,000 shares of Oracle Corporation stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.76, for a total value of $17,416,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 553,891 shares in the company, valued at approximately $27,561,616.16. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Hector Garcia-Molina sold 3,750 shares of Oracle Corporation stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.86, for a total transaction of $183,225.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 18,125 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $885,587.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 1,817,500 shares of company stock valued at $91,560,925 in the last quarter. 29.00% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Acrospire Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Oracle Corporation by 947.4% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,990 shares of the enterprise software provider’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 1,800 shares during the period. Burt Wealth Advisors increased its stake in Oracle Corporation by 4.3% in the second quarter. Burt Wealth Advisors now owns 2,151 shares of the enterprise software provider’s stock valued at $107,000 after buying an additional 88 shares during the period. IHT Wealth Management LLC increased its stake in Oracle Corporation by 65.9% in the second quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,383 shares of the enterprise software provider’s stock valued at $154,000 after buying an additional 947 shares during the period. Baystate Wealth Management LLC increased its stake in Oracle Corporation by 9.2% in the second quarter. Baystate Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,439 shares of the enterprise software provider’s stock valued at $123,000 after buying an additional 206 shares during the period. Finally, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings Co. Ltd. increased its stake in Oracle Corporation by 1,150.0% in the first quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings Co. Ltd. now owns 2,500 shares of the enterprise software provider’s stock valued at $112,000 after buying an additional 2,300 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 58.79% of the company’s stock.

Oracle Corporation Company Profile

Oracle Corporation (Oracle) provides products and services that address all aspects of corporate information technology (IT) environments, including application, platform and infrastructure. The Company’s businesses include cloud and on-premise software, hardware and services. Its cloud and on-premise software business consists of three segments, including cloud software and on-premise software, which includes Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings, cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software license updates and product support.

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