Equifax (EFX) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Equifax (NYSE:EFX) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday.

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.”

Several other equities analysts also recently commented on the company. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $137.00 target price on shares of Equifax in a research report on Tuesday. Barclays downgraded Equifax from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and upped their target price for the company from $115.00 to $128.00 in a research report on Thursday, December 14th. Royal Bank of Canada upped their target price on Equifax from $113.00 to $114.00 and gave the company a sector perform rating in a research report on Monday, November 13th. Stifel Nicolaus downgraded Equifax from a buy rating to a hold rating and decreased their target price for the company from $149.00 to $115.00 in a research report on Monday, November 13th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group began coverage on Equifax in a research report on Wednesday, November 8th. They issued a neutral rating and a $116.00 target price on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. Equifax has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $128.67.

Equifax (EFX) traded up $1.36 during trading on Tuesday, hitting $122.85. The stock had a trading volume of 1,118,500 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,324,978. Equifax has a 52 week low of $89.59 and a 52 week high of $147.02. The company has a quick ratio of 0.67, a current ratio of 0.67 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64. The firm has a market capitalization of $14,750.00, a P/E ratio of 27.79, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.10 and a beta of 0.95.

Equifax (NYSE:EFX) last posted its earnings results 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. Equifax had a return on equity of 24.45% and a net margin of 16.18%. The company had revenue of $834.80 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $847.28 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.44 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.8% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that Equifax will post 5.92 EPS 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 given a dividend of $0.39 per share. 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 dividend payout ratio is currently 35.29%.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of EFX. Pacer Advisors Inc. grew its position in Equifax by 8.7% during the second quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 2,500 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $344,000 after buying an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. grew its position in Equifax by 1.1% during the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 731,638 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $100,542,000 after buying an additional 8,222 shares in the last quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. lifted its stake in Equifax by 2.4% during the second quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 2,536 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $348,000 after purchasing an additional 59 shares during the last quarter. WBI Investments Inc. bought a new stake in Equifax during the second quarter worth $1,680,000. Finally, Teachers Advisors LLC lifted its stake in Equifax by 18.5% during the second quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 480,790 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $66,070,000 after purchasing an additional 75,144 shares during the last quarter. 95.20% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Equifax

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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