Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Accenture PLC (NYSE:ACN) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Accenture is one of world’s leading providers of management consultancy, technology and outsourcing services. Estimates have been stable ahead of this IT management solution provider’s 4Q16 earnings release. The company has a mixed record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Although Accenture’s long-term prospect looks promising due to sustained focus on new and innovative product launches, continuous investments in enhancing digital and marketing capabilities as well as acquisitions, we are cautious about its near-term performance amid a strained IT spending scenario. Gartner predicts worldwide IT spending to remain flat year over year in 2016 at $3.41 trillion, due to currency fluctuations triggered by the Brexit episode. Moreover, stiff competition and an uncertain macroeconomic environment remain major concerns.”

Analyst Recommendations for Accenture PLC (NYSE:ACN)

ACN has been the topic of several other research reports. Barclays PLC lifted their target price on shares of Accenture PLC from $110.00 to $112.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research report on Thursday, July 7th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a hold rating on shares of Accenture PLC in a research report on Thursday, June 30th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated a buy rating on shares of Accenture PLC in a research report on Tuesday, July 19th. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated a market perform rating and issued a $112.00 target price (up previously from $104.00) on shares of Accenture PLC in a research report on Wednesday, June 22nd. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus lifted their target price on shares of Accenture PLC from $116.00 to $128.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Friday, May 20th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating, thirteen have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. Accenture PLC has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $120.54.

Shares of Accenture PLC (NYSE:ACN) opened at 110.50 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $68.79 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.68 and a beta of 1.17. Accenture PLC has a 52-week low of $91.40 and a 52-week high of $120.78. The company has a 50-day moving average of $113.32 and a 200-day moving average of $113.96.

Accenture PLC (NYSE:ACN) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 23rd. The company reported $1.41 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.41. The company had revenue of $8.43 billion for the quarter. Accenture PLC had a net margin of 11.24% and a return on equity of 47.61%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 8.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.30 EPS. Equities research analysts anticipate that Accenture PLC will post $5.33 EPS for the current year.

In other Accenture PLC news, insider Richard Lumb sold 1,250 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $113.12, for a total transaction of $141,400.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 125,647 shares in the company, valued at approximately $14,213,188.64. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CFO David Rowland sold 4,553 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $109.84, for a total transaction of $500,101.52. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 16,845 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,850,254.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.17% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Norges Bank bought a new position in shares of Accenture PLC during the fourth quarter valued at about $569,431,000. FMR LLC boosted its position in shares of Accenture PLC by 39.4% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 12,730,924 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,442,286,000 after buying an additional 3,595,128 shares during the last quarter. WCM Investment Management CA bought a new position in shares of Accenture PLC during the second quarter valued at about $223,849,000. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. bought a new position in shares of Accenture PLC during the second quarter valued at about $175,381,000. Finally, Janus Capital Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Accenture PLC by 59.8% in the second quarter. Janus Capital Management LLC now owns 3,670,692 shares of the company’s stock valued at $415,853,000 after buying an additional 1,373,714 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 77.21% of the company’s stock.

About Accenture PLC

Accenture plc is engaged in providing management consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Company’s business is structured around five operating groups, which together consists of 19 industry groups serving clients in industries globally. The Company’s segment includes Communications, Media & Technology, Financial Services, Health & Public Service, Products and Resources.

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