Alliance Data Systems (NYSE:ADS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Alliance Data remains well-positioned for growth from significant opportunities owing to the current trend in consumer-based businesses, shifting their marketing spends to data-driven marketing strategies. It has made several strategic acquisitions to grow inorganically. Solid receivables growth in Card Services along with strength in LoyaltyOne and Epsilon segments should continue to drive top-line growth. For 2017, core EPS is expected at $18.10 on $7.8 billion revenues and for 2018, core EPS is projected at $21.50 on revenues of $8.7 billion. However, increasing expenses and dependence on limited clients for revenues, raise concerns. Shares of Alliance Data have underperformed the industry in a year. It is set to release fourth quarter results on Jan 25. A Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of a beat, but combined with the Earnings ESP of -1.27%, makes prediction difficult.”

A number of other brokerages have also commented on ADS. Barclays reiterated an “equal weight” rating and set a $298.00 price target (up from $278.00) on shares of Alliance Data Systems in a report on Monday, January 8th. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $293.00 price target on shares of Alliance Data Systems in a report on Thursday, January 4th. Robert W. Baird reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $270.00 price target on shares of Alliance Data Systems in a report on Tuesday, January 9th. Stephens set a $304.00 price target on Alliance Data Systems and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group restated an “underperform” rating and issued a $218.00 target price (up from $193.00) on shares of Alliance Data Systems in a research note on Wednesday. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $270.18.

Shares of Alliance Data Systems (NYSE:ADS) traded down $18.30 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $258.07. The stock had a trading volume of 1,619,100 shares, compared to its average volume of 595,840. Alliance Data Systems has a one year low of $209.00 and a one year high of $278.33. The firm has a market capitalization of $14,310.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.37, a PEG ratio of 0.99 and a beta of 1.79. The company has a current ratio of 2.11, a quick ratio of 2.09 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 9.53.

Alliance Data Systems (NYSE:ADS) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 19th. The business services provider reported $5.35 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $4.80 by $0.55. Alliance Data Systems had a return on equity of 62.95% and a net margin of 7.09%. The company had revenue of $1.91 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.97 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $4.74 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 1.4% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts expect that Alliance Data Systems will post 17.08 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Alliance Data Systems news, CFO Charles L. Horn sold 2,128 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $235.00, for a total transaction of $500,080.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Corporate insiders own 2.60% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Green Square Capital LLC raised its stake in Alliance Data Systems by 0.3% during the second quarter. Green Square Capital LLC now owns 3,054 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $784,000 after acquiring an additional 8 shares in the last quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. raised its stake in Alliance Data Systems by 1.7% during the second quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 2,240 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $574,000 after acquiring an additional 37 shares in the last quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Alliance Data Systems by 3.8% during the second quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 2,376 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $610,000 after acquiring an additional 87 shares in the last quarter. Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management LLC raised its stake in Alliance Data Systems by 1.1% during the second quarter. Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management LLC now owns 9,299 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $2,387,000 after acquiring an additional 101 shares in the last quarter. Finally, D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its stake in Alliance Data Systems by 1.2% during the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 8,770 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $2,251,000 after acquiring an additional 102 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 94.59% of the company’s stock.

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About Alliance Data Systems

Alliance Data Systems Corporation is a provider of data-driven marketing and loyalty solutions serving consumer-based businesses in a range of industries. The Company offers a portfolio of integrated outsourced marketing solutions, including customer loyalty programs, database marketing services, end-to-end marketing services, analytics and creative services, direct marketing services, and private label and co-brand retail credit card programs.

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