Moody’s Co. (NYSE:MCO) was the target of a large decline in short interest during the month of April. As of April 15th, there was short interest totalling 1,580,000 shares, a decline of 24.8% from the March 31st total of 2,100,000 shares. Currently, 0.9% of the shares of the company are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 779,500 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.0 days.
In other Moody’s news, insider Stephen T. Tulenko sold 1,144 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, February 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $278.84, for a total transaction of $318,992.96. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 10,163 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,833,850.92. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Stephen T. Tulenko sold 1,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $302.50, for a total value of $453,750.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 7,082 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,142,305. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 16,118 shares of company stock valued at $4,771,584. 0.79% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Moody’s by 0.7% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,775,000 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $3,417,576,000 after purchasing an additional 83,342 shares during the period. Fiera Capital Corp boosted its position in Moody’s by 3.1% in the 4th quarter. Fiera Capital Corp now owns 6,950,061 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $2,017,186,000 after buying an additional 207,918 shares during the period. Ninety One UK Ltd boosted its position in Moody’s by 1.4% in the 4th quarter. Ninety One UK Ltd now owns 2,539,795 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $737,150,000 after buying an additional 35,068 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley boosted its position in Moody’s by 8.5% in the 4th quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,907,586 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $553,657,000 after buying an additional 148,846 shares during the period. Finally, Rothschild & Co Wealth Management UK Ltd boosted its position in Moody’s by 3.4% in the 1st quarter. Rothschild & Co Wealth Management UK Ltd now owns 1,756,001 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $524,359,000 after buying an additional 58,549 shares during the period. 89.31% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 28th. The business services provider reported $4.06 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.80 by $1.26. Moody’s had a net margin of 34.31% and a return on equity of 170.55%. The firm had revenue of $1.60 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.39 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $2.73 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 24.0% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Moody’s will post 10.17 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 10th. Investors of record on Thursday, May 20th will be paid a dividend of $0.62 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, May 19th. This represents a $2.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.75%. Moody’s’s dividend payout ratio is presently 29.92%.
A number of equities research analysts have issued reports on MCO shares. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their price target on Moody’s from $296.00 to $322.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, April 9th. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft boosted their price objective on Moody’s from $315.00 to $325.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 29th. Raymond James upgraded Moody’s from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $337.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Thursday, April 1st. Oppenheimer boosted their price objective on Moody’s from $337.00 to $357.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 29th. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on Moody’s from $301.00 to $322.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 29th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $328.82.
Moody's Corporation operates as an integrated risk assessment firm worldwide. It operates in two segments, Moody's Investors Service and Moody's Analytics. The Moody's Investors Service segment publishes credit ratings and provides assessment services on various debt obligations, programs and facilities, and entities that issue such obligations, such as various corporate, financial institution, and governmental obligations; and structured finance securities.
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