Coho Partners Ltd. trimmed its holdings in Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX – Get Rating) by 6.6% in the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 158,143 shares of the medical research company’s stock after selling 11,138 shares during the quarter. Coho Partners Ltd.’s holdings in Quest Diagnostics were worth $24,740,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Wagner Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the 2nd quarter worth $27,000. Global Retirement Partners LLC lifted its position in Quest Diagnostics by 154.7% in 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. purchased a new position in Quest Diagnostics during the third quarter worth about $31,000. Chilton Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics during the second quarter valued at about $36,000. Finally, Accurate Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Quest Diagnostics in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $36,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 88.79% of the company’s stock.
Wall Street Analysts Forecast Growth
A number of research firms recently weighed in on DGX. StockNews.com assumed coverage on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Thursday. They set a “hold” rating for the company. Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on Quest Diagnostics from $146.00 to $158.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Friday, January 6th. Mizuho reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $165.00 price objective on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Friday. Credit Suisse Group raised their target price on Quest Diagnostics from $143.00 to $146.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 25th. Finally, Evercore ISI assumed coverage on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research note on Monday, January 23rd. They set an “inline” rating and a $159.00 price target on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. According to MarketBeat.com, the stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $150.91.
Quest Diagnostics Price Performance
Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX – Get Rating) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, February 2nd. The medical research company reported $1.98 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.90 by $0.08. Quest Diagnostics had a net margin of 9.57% and a return on equity of 18.84%. The firm had revenue of $2.33 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.26 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $3.33 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was down 15.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate 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 dividend of $0.71 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, April 6th. This represents a $2.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.16%. This is an increase from Quest Diagnostics’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. Quest Diagnostics’s payout ratio is presently 33.33%.
Quest Diagnostics announced that its board has authorized a share 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 buy up to 6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.
Insider Activity at Quest Diagnostics
In other Quest Diagnostics news, SVP Michael E. Prevoznik sold 1,415 shares of Quest Diagnostics stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $141.42, for a total transaction of $200,109.30. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 39,440 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,577,604.80. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. 1.70% of the stock is currently owned by corporate 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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