Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Oracle (ORCL) to Buy

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Friday morning. They currently have $53.00 price objective on the enterprise software provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Oracle is benefiting from strong adoption of its cloud-based solutions. Both earnings and revenues increased on a year-over-year basis in the third-quarter fiscal 2018. However, management provided soft outlook for the cloud business, which will remain an overhang on the shares in the near term. Nevertheless, we believe that the company’s growing cloud market share will continue to drive top-line growth in the long haul. We note that partnerships with the likes of Accenture are helping the company rapidly expand its cloud-base clientele. Moreover, this has helped in improving the company's competitive position against the likes of salesforce.com and Workday. Moreover, anticipated strong demand for the next-generation autonomous database supported by machine learning will boost competitive position against AWS. However, higher investments on IaaS platform will affect gross margin expansion in the near term.”

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A number of other equities analysts have also recently weighed in on ORCL. UBS set a $55.00 price target on Oracle and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Friday, December 15th. Oppenheimer reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of Oracle in a report on Friday, December 15th. TheStreet cut Oracle from a b+ rating to a c+ rating in a report on Monday, March 19th. Royal Bank of Canada upped their price target on Oracle to $53.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Wednesday, December 6th. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised Oracle from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating and upped their price target for the stock from $46.63 to $47.71 in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Fifteen research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-five have given a buy rating to the company. Oracle currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $56.11.

Oracle (NYSE ORCL) opened at $46.48 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $185,412.78, a PE ratio of 56.68, a PEG ratio of 1.65 and a beta of 1.05. The company has a quick ratio of 4.30, a current ratio of 4.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.16. Oracle has a fifty-two week low of $43.60 and a fifty-two week high of $53.48.

Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Monday, March 19th. The enterprise software provider reported $0.83 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.11. The business had revenue of $9.78 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.77 billion. Oracle had a return on equity of 21.77% and a net margin of 9.25%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.69 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Oracle will post 2.77 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, May 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, April 17th will be given a $0.19 dividend. This represents a $0.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.64%. Oracle’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 92.68%.

Oracle announced that its board has initiated a share repurchase plan on Thursday, December 14th that authorizes the company to repurchase $12.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the enterprise software provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, insider Thomas Kurian sold 1,700,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.29, for a total value of $85,493,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 1,522,983 shares in the company, valued at $76,590,815.07. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Naomi O. Seligman sold 45,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.34, for a total value of $2,310,300.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 62,498 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,208,647.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 1,981,250 shares of company stock valued at $99,315,438 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 29.00% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of ORCL. Clearbridge Investments LLC grew its position in Oracle by 148.9% in the fourth quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 15,759,813 shares of the enterprise software provider’s stock worth $745,124,000 after acquiring an additional 9,429,236 shares during the period. BT Investment Management Ltd purchased a new position in Oracle in the second quarter worth approximately $459,738,000. Harris Associates L P grew its position in Oracle by 17.9% in the second quarter. Harris Associates L P now owns 48,989,216 shares of the enterprise software provider’s stock worth $2,456,319,000 after acquiring an additional 7,427,501 shares during the period. FMR LLC grew its position in Oracle by 24.8% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 33,082,375 shares of the enterprise software provider’s stock worth $1,658,750,000 after acquiring an additional 6,577,297 shares during the period. Finally, Mackenzie Financial Corp grew its position in Oracle by 50.2% in the fourth quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp now owns 16,111,806 shares of the enterprise software provider’s stock worth $761,766,000 after acquiring an additional 5,387,078 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 57.94% of the company’s stock.

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About Oracle

Oracle Corporation develops, manufactures, markets, sells, hosts, and supports application, platform, and infrastructure technologies for information technology (IT) environments worldwide. It provides services in three primary layers of the cloud: Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service.

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