Zacks Investment Research Lowers Accenture (NYSE:ACN) to Sell

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Accenture (NYSE:ACN) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $214.00 target price on the information technology services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Accenture has been steadily gaining traction in its outsourcing and consulting businesses. The company has been strategically enhancing its cloud and digital marketing suite through acquisitions and partnerships, thereby affecting its share price, which has outperformed its industry in the past year.. The company’s strong operating cash flow has helped it reward its shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases, and pursue opportunities in areas that show true potential. Accenture is currently a global leader in the Salesforce implementation service space. However, Accenture continues to face pricing pressure due to significant competition from strong companies like Genpact, Cognizant and Infosys. Global presence exposes Accenture to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. Buyout-related integration risks is a concern.”

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Wells Fargo & Co increased their price target on Accenture from $193.00 to $200.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research note on Thursday, June 13th. BMO Capital Markets increased their price target on Accenture from $185.00 to $195.00 and gave the stock a positive rating in a research note on Friday, June 28th. Bank of America increased their price target on Accenture from $182.00 to $186.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, June 20th. Deutsche Bank increased their price target on Accenture from $180.00 to $190.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Monday, June 10th. Finally, Robert W. Baird set a $212.00 target price on Accenture and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Friday, September 6th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $196.63.

Shares of Accenture stock opened at $191.37 on Monday. Accenture has a 1 year low of $132.63 and a 1 year high of $202.80. The firm has a market cap of $130.92 billion, a PE ratio of 28.39, a P/E/G ratio of 2.37 and a beta of 1.04. The stock has a fifty day moving average price of $194.48 and a 200-day moving average price of $182.26.

Accenture (NYSE:ACN) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, June 27th. The information technology services provider reported $1.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.89 by $0.04. Accenture had a return on equity of 36.24% and a net margin of 10.93%. The firm had revenue of $11.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.03 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.79 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 3.8% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Accenture will post 7.33 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Accenture news, General Counsel Chad T. Jerdee sold 3,247 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $186.34, for a total value of $605,045.98. Following the sale, the general counsel now owns 13,271 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,472,918.14. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Richard Lumb sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $186.35, for a total value of $372,700.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 77,240 shares in the company, valued at approximately $14,393,674. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 22,760 shares of company stock valued at $4,353,328. 0.18% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ACN. Nuveen Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Accenture by 32,251.5% in the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 5,585,165 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $1,031,971,000 after acquiring an additional 5,567,901 shares in the last quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Accenture by 23.0% in the 1st quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 6,270,138 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $1,103,668,000 after acquiring an additional 1,173,313 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Accenture by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 55,373,798 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $10,231,417,000 after acquiring an additional 909,318 shares in the last quarter. Railway Pension Investments Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of Accenture in the 2nd quarter valued at about $15,355,000. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Accenture by 70.0% in the 2nd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 1,732,160 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $320,051,000 after acquiring an additional 713,027 shares in the last quarter. 69.88% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Accenture

Accenture plc provides consulting, technology, and outsourcing services in Ireland and internationally. Its Communications, Media & Technology segment provides professional services that help clients accelerate and deliver digital transformation, develop industry-specific solutions, and enhance efficiencies and business results for communications, media, high tech, software, and platform companies.

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