Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX) Short Interest Up 10.4% in August

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX – Get Rating) benefited from a significant increase in short-term interest in August. As of August 31, there was short interest totaling 5,400,000 shares, an increase of 10.4% from the total of 4,890,000 shares as of August 15. About 4.7% of the stock’s shares are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume of 837,500 shares, the short-term interest rate ratio is currently 6.4 days.

Quest Diagnostics Stock up to 0.7%

DGX traded $0.86 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $125.59. 863,897 shares of the company were traded, against an average volume of 1,065,283. Quest Diagnostics has a 1-year low of $123.32 and a 1-year high of $174.16. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $132.61 and its two-hundred-day moving average is $135.61. The stock has a market capitalization of $14.64 billion, a price-earnings ratio of 10.45 and a beta of 1.01. The company has a quick ratio of 1.42, a current ratio of 1.54 and a debt ratio of 0.62.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX – Get Rating) last reported quarterly results on Thursday, July 21. The medical research company reported EPS of $2.36 for the quarter, beating consensus analyst estimates of $2.26 by $0.10. The company posted revenue of $2.45 billion in the quarter, compared to $2.34 billion expected by analysts. Quest Diagnostics had a net margin of 14.02% and a return on equity of 24.62%. The company’s revenue for the quarter decreased 3.8% compared to the same quarter last year. In the same quarter last year, the company posted earnings per share of $3.18. Sell-side analysts expect Quest Diagnostics to post earnings per share of 9.68 for the current fiscal year.

Quest Diagnostics Dividend Announcement

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 19. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, October 4 will receive a dividend of $0.66. This represents an annualized dividend of $2.64 and a dividend yield of 2.10%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, October 3. Quest Diagnostics’ payout ratio is currently 21.96%.

A Wall Street analyst gives his opinion

A number of equity research analysts have weighed in on the stock recently. downgraded Quest Diagnostics shares from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research rating on Thursday. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an “equal weight” rating and issued a price target of $142.00 on Quest Diagnostics shares in a research note on Monday, August 22. Seven analysts gave the stock a hold rating and two gave the stock a buy rating. Based on data from, Quest Diagnostics currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $148.50.

Insider Buying and Selling at Quest Diagnostics

In other news, Director Timothy M. Ring sold 2,000 shares of the company in a trade that took place on Monday, August 1. The shares were sold at an average price of $136.04, for a total transaction of $272,080.00. As a result of the transaction, the administrator now directly owns 23,933 shares of the company, valued at $3,255,845.32. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available on the SEC’s website. Insiders of the company own 1.70% of the shares of the company.

Hedge funds weigh on Quest Diagnostics

Several large investors have recently changed their stock holdings. Mystic Asset Management Inc. bought a new position in Quest Diagnostics during the fourth quarter worth approximately $25,000. Wagner Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in Quest Diagnostics in Q2 worth approximately $27,000. Sandy Cove Advisors LLC bought a new position in Quest Diagnostics in Q1 worth approximately $28,000. Chilton Capital Management LLC bought a new position in Quest Diagnostics in Q2 worth approximately $36,000. Finally, Win Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 44.1% in the 2nd quarter. Win Advisors Inc. now owns 271 shares of the medical research company valued at $37,000 after buying 83 additional shares during the period. 88.87% of the shares are held by institutional investors.

Quest Diagnostics Company Profile

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Quest Diagnostics Incorporated provides diagnostic testing, information, and service in the United States and around the world. The Company develops and provides diagnostic information services, such as routine testing, non-routine and advanced clinical testing, pathology testing and other diagnostic information services.

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