Paychex Inc. (NASDAQ:PAYX) shares reached a new 52-week high during trading on Wednesday . The company traded as high as $61.00 and last traded at $60.64, with a volume of 2,220,308 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $60.09.

A number of research analysts have commented on PAYX shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Paychex from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $61.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Thursday, June 2nd. Argus reissued a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 target price (up from $59.50) on shares of Paychex in a report on Friday, July 1st. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Paychex in a report on Sunday, April 3rd. Robert W. Baird reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Paychex in a report on Thursday, March 31st. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG reissued a “hold” rating and set a $56.00 target price (up from $51.00) on shares of Paychex in a report on Wednesday. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $52.62.

The company’s 50-day moving average is $55.29 and its 200-day moving average is $52.33. The company has a market cap of $21.84 billion and a PE ratio of 28.99.

Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, June 30th. The company reported $0.49 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.49. The company earned $753.90 million during the quarter. The company’s revenue was up 8.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.44 EPS. Equities analysts forecast that Paychex Inc. will post $2.21 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 25th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 1st will be paid a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, July 28th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.04%. This is a positive change from Paychex’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.42.

In other Paychex news, Director Grant M. Inman sold 4,197 shares of Paychex stock in a transaction on Wednesday, April 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.85, for a total transaction of $221,811.45. Following the sale, the director now owns 29,622 shares in the company, valued at $1,565,522.70. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP Laurie L. Zaucha sold 10,000 shares of Paychex stock in a transaction on Thursday, June 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.51, for a total transaction of $545,100.00. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 40,819 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,225,043.69. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other large investors have bought and sold shares of the company. Bell State Bank & Trust increased its stake in Paychex by 120.2% in the fourth quarter. Bell State Bank & Trust now owns 45,066 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,384,000 after buying an additional 24,596 shares in the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. acquired a new stake in Paychex during the fourth quarter worth $16,809,000. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its stake in Paychex by 5.6% in the fourth quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 500,205 shares of the company’s stock worth $26,455,000 after buying an additional 26,463 shares in the last quarter. Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. Ltd. increased its stake in Paychex by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. Ltd. now owns 489,366 shares of the company’s stock worth $26,318,000 after buying an additional 3,802 shares in the last quarter. Finally, RiverFront Investment Group LLC acquired a new stake in Paychex during the fourth quarter worth $17,275,000.

Paychex, Inc, is a provider of integrated payroll, human Resource, insurance, and benefits outsourcing solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses. The Company focuses on providing payroll and human Resource services; delivering these services; growing its client base, through the efforts of its direct sales force; improving client service, through its leading-edge technology; capitalizing on the growth opportunities within its existing client base and from new clients; investing in business through expansion of its services and product offerings; and supplementing its growth through strategic acquisitions.

Get Analysts' Upgrades and Downgrades Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of analysts' upgrades, downgrades and new coverage with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.