Wall Street analysts expect Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX) to announce earnings per share (EPS) of $1.60 for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Seven analysts have issued estimates for Quest Diagnostics’ earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $1.58 and the highest estimate coming in at $1.65. Quest Diagnostics posted earnings of $1.36 per share during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 17.6%. The firm is expected to report its next earnings results on Thursday, February 13th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Quest Diagnostics will report full year earnings of $6.49 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.48 to $6.53. For the next fiscal year, analysts expect that the business will report earnings of $6.74 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.62 to $6.85. Zacks’ earnings per share calculations are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that cover Quest Diagnostics.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, October 22nd. The medical research company reported $1.76 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.71 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $1.96 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.94 billion. Quest Diagnostics had a net margin of 9.58% and a return on equity of 15.32%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.68 earnings per share.

A number of analysts recently weighed in on the stock. ValuEngine cut shares of Quest Diagnostics from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, November 29th. Morgan Stanley raised their target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics from $111.00 to $121.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, August 23rd. Canaccord Genuity restated a “buy” rating and set a $113.00 target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Wednesday, October 23rd. UBS Group reduced their target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics from $103.00 to $102.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a report on Monday, October 21st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Quest Diagnostics from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $111.00 target price for the company in a report on Monday, September 30th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $106.85.

In related news, Director Gail R. Wilensky sold 8,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $107.17, for a total value of $857,360.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 22,951 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,459,658.67. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, SVP Michael E. Prevoznik sold 44,556 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $107.43, for a total transaction of $4,786,651.08. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 51,321 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,513,415.03. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 57,556 shares of company stock valued at $6,174,011 in the last ninety days. Company insiders own 1.86% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. NEXT Financial Group Inc lifted its position in Quest Diagnostics by 166.7% in the 2nd quarter. NEXT Financial Group Inc now owns 480 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $49,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. Strs Ohio lifted its position in Quest Diagnostics by 5.2% in the 2nd quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 20,536 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $2,090,000 after buying an additional 1,017 shares in the last quarter. Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC purchased a new stake in Quest Diagnostics in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $322,000. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. lifted its position in Quest Diagnostics by 16.4% in the 2nd quarter. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,683 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $273,000 after buying an additional 378 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC purchased a new stake in Quest Diagnostics in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $155,000. 88.04% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

NYSE:DGX traded down $0.12 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $105.20. 652,045 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 738,673. The company has a market capitalization of $14.11 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.67, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.85. Quest Diagnostics has a 12 month low of $78.95 and a 12 month high of $108.30. The company has a quick ratio of 0.83, a current ratio of 0.88 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56. The business’s 50-day simple moving average is $103.90 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $102.51.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 29th. Investors of record on Tuesday, January 14th will be paid a $0.53 dividend. This represents a $2.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.02%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, January 13th. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio is 33.60%.

About Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated provides diagnostic testing, information, and services in the United States and internationally. The company develops and delivers diagnostic testing information and services, such as routine testing, non-routine and advanced clinical testing, anatomic pathology testing, and other diagnostic information services.

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