Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Equifax (NYSE:EFX) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Tuesday morning.
According to Zacks, “Last year's cyber attack at Equifax, under which criminals stole highly sensitive personal data of approximately 143 million of its consumers, has heavily tarnished the brand image, reputation and credibility of the company. The company is facing huge customer criticism, while cybersecurity companies are questioning its preparedness and response to this massive data breach. Moreover, with lawmakers and investigating agencies probing the mishap, troubles for Equifax are unlikely to end any time soon. We are concerned that the entire issue may result in loss of customers and the company may also have to make huge compensation to its clients. We believe the incident will certainly have an adverse impact on the company’s financial performance in the near term. Notably, the stock has underperformed the industry in the last one year.”
EFX has been the subject of several other reports. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $141.00 price objective on shares of Equifax in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. Royal Bank of Canada lowered their price objective on shares of Equifax from $154.00 to $113.00 and set an outperform rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, September 19th. Evercore ISI reaffirmed an outperform rating and set a $110.00 price objective (down from $174.00) on shares of Equifax in a research note on Saturday, September 16th. SunTrust Banks upped their price objective on shares of Equifax from $110.00 to $155.00 in a research note on Friday, September 15th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of Equifax in a research note on Tuesday, October 3rd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Equifax has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $128.67.
Equifax (NYSE:EFX) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 9th. The credit services provider reported $1.53 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.49 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $834.80 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $847.28 million. Equifax had a net margin of 16.18% and a return on equity of 24.45%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.44 earnings per share. equities analysts expect that Equifax will post 5.92 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Friday, November 24th were paid a $0.39 dividend. This represents a $1.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.27%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, November 22nd. Equifax’s payout ratio is currently 35.29%.
A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Equifax by 3.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 11,801,839 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $1,621,809,000 after buying an additional 368,255 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Equifax by 7.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 9,933,776 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $1,365,099,000 after buying an additional 653,096 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its stake in Equifax by 5.8% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 6,046,517 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $830,912,000 after buying an additional 329,481 shares in the last quarter. Capital International Investors bought a new position in Equifax in the third quarter worth about $513,940,000. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its stake in Equifax by 11,042.5% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,729,992 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $237,735,000 after buying an additional 1,714,466 shares in the last quarter. 95.20% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
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Equifax Company Profile
Equifax Inc is a global provider of information solutions and human resources business process outsourcing services for businesses, governments and consumers. The Company operates in four segments: U.S. Information Solutions (USIS), International, Workforce Solutions and Global Consumer Solutions. Its products and services are based on databases of consumer and business information derived from various sources, including credit, financial assets, telecommunications and utility payments, employment, income, demographic and marketing data.
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