Moody’s (MCO) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Moody’s have significantly outperformed the industry over the past six months. This price performance is supported by impressive earnings surprise history as the company surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters. Estimates have revised up lately ahead of the company's first-quarter 2018 earnings release. It remains well positioned to improve profitability on the back of its dominant position in the credit rating industry, diverse revenue base and disintermediation of credit markets. Inorganic growth strategy and resultant synergies will further support top-line. However, elevated expense levels as it continues to invest in franchise and growth inorganically will likely hurt bottom line. Also, stricter regulatory landscapes and stiff competition across the credit rating industry continue to be major concerns.”

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MCO has been the topic of several other reports. Barclays boosted their target price on shares of Moody’s from $175.00 to $180.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Monday, February 12th. Argus boosted their target price on shares of Moody’s to $190.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 14th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Nomura assumed coverage on shares of Moody’s in a research note on Thursday, January 11th. They set a “buy” rating and a $180.00 target price on the stock. Morgan Stanley boosted their target price on shares of Moody’s from $168.00 to $172.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 12th. Finally, Wells Fargo set a $160.00 target price on shares of Moody’s and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research note on Monday, February 12th. Nine equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, three have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $169.42.

NYSE:MCO traded down $1.88 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $163.84. 232,752 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 776,574. The company has a quick ratio of 1.25, a current ratio of 1.25 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -44.48. Moody’s has a fifty-two week low of $112.55 and a fifty-two week high of $171.68. The company has a market cap of $31,812.42, a P/E ratio of 26.98, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.87 and a beta of 1.26.

Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) last announced its earnings results on Friday, February 9th. The business services provider reported $1.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.45 by $0.06. Moody’s had a net margin of 23.80% and a negative return on equity of 319.45%. The company had revenue of $1.17 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.07 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.23 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 23.7% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts anticipate that Moody’s will post 7.75 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Moody’s news, SVP Michael S. Crimmins sold 300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $166.04, for a total transaction of $49,812.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Raymond W. Mcdaniel sold 45,215 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, April 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $159.73, for a total transaction of $7,222,191.95. Following the sale, the insider now owns 149,011 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $23,801,527.03. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 80,397 shares of company stock worth $12,943,423. 1.00% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC bought a new stake in shares of Moody’s during the third quarter valued at approximately $355,000. Atlantic Trust Group LLC boosted its stake in Moody’s by 410.9% during the third quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 74,540 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $10,377,000 after acquiring an additional 59,950 shares in the last quarter. Progressive Investment Management Corp boosted its stake in Moody’s by 4.2% during the fourth quarter. Progressive Investment Management Corp now owns 34,184 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $5,046,000 after acquiring an additional 1,381 shares in the last quarter. First American Trust FSB bought a new position in Moody’s during the fourth quarter worth $210,000. Finally, Nisa Investment Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Moody’s by 6.6% during the fourth quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 61,333 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $9,053,000 after acquiring an additional 3,800 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 88.51% of the company’s stock.

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Moody’s Company Profile

Moody's Corporation provides credit ratings; and credit, capital markets, and economic related research, data, and analytical tools worldwide. It operates through two segments, Moody's Investors Service and Moody's Analytics. The Moody's Investors Service segment publishes credit ratings on various debt obligations and entities that issue such obligations comprising various corporate and governmental obligations, structured finance securities, and commercial paper programs.

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