Moody’s (MCO) Upgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report released on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Moody’s have outperformed the industry over the past year. Also, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history as it surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters. The company remains well positioned to boost profitability on the back of its dominant position in the credit rating industry, diverse revenue base, strategic acquisitions and disintermediation of credit markets. Also, it has a strong balance sheet position. However, stricter regulatory landscape and stiff competition across the credit rating industry continue to be major concerns. Further, as the company continues to invest in franchise and grow inorganically, expenses are expected to remain elevated, thereby hurting bottom-line growth to some extent.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently commented on the stock. UBS Group dropped their price objective on shares of Moody’s from $192.00 to $189.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a report on Friday, September 21st. William Blair reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of Moody’s in a report on Sunday, August 12th. Wells Fargo & Co upped their price objective on shares of Moody’s from $160.00 to $172.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a report on Monday, July 30th. Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on shares of Moody’s from $176.00 to $179.00 and gave the company a $184.49 rating in a report on Wednesday, July 18th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded shares of Moody’s from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, October 3rd. Eight analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $181.64.

NYSE MCO opened at $161.65 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $32.09 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.43, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.87 and a beta of 1.09. Moody’s has a 52 week low of $140.15 and a 52 week high of $187.98. The company has a current ratio of 1.54, a quick ratio of 1.54 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 10.72.

Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 27th. The business services provider reported $2.04 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.88 by $0.16. The business had revenue of $1.18 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.15 billion. Moody’s had a net margin of 24.10% and a return on equity of 907.23%. The company’s revenue was up 17.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.54 earnings per share. On average, analysts anticipate that Moody’s will post 7.79 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, CFO Linda Huber purchased 915 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 6th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $172.31 per share, with a total value of $157,663.65. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Corporate insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Banco de Sabadell S.A purchased a new stake in Moody’s in the second quarter valued at approximately $1,096,000. Neuburgh Advisers LLC raised its stake in Moody’s by 3.7% in the second quarter. Neuburgh Advisers LLC now owns 8,636 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,473,000 after purchasing an additional 306 shares in the last quarter. Kiwi Wealth Investments Limited Partnership purchased a new stake in Moody’s in the second quarter valued at approximately $4,456,000. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. raised its stake in Moody’s by 29.0% in the second quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 2,632 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $449,000 after purchasing an additional 592 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Moody’s in the second quarter valued at approximately $140,000. 87.90% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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