Verisk Analytics (VRSK) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Verisk Analytics (NASDAQ:VRSK) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday.
According to Zacks, “Verisk remains susceptible to operational risks, customer consolidation, fluctuations in the U.S. insurance industry, pricing pressure and lower acceptance of its services. Its European operations and businesses remain vulnerable to the outcome of Brexit. A debt-laden balance sheet is another major concern. Despite such negatives, shares of Verisk have outperformed its industry in the past year. Verisk is benefitting from higher organic revenue growth. Acquisitions have been a key growth catalyst. We also appreciate the company's expertise in providing predictive data analytics decision by using advanced technologies to collect and interpret different types of data sets. Such a deep technical prowess for analytics and Big Data provides it an edge over its competitors. The company has been consistent in rewarding its shareholders through share repurchases.”
A number of other equities research analysts have also recently commented on VRSK. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on shares of Verisk Analytics from $107.00 to $108.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, July 18th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a buy rating and issued a $115.00 price target on shares of Verisk Analytics in a report on Thursday, July 19th. BidaskClub cut shares of Verisk Analytics from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, July 31st. Finally, SunTrust Banks restated a hold rating and issued a $109.00 price target on shares of Verisk Analytics in a report on Wednesday, August 1st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $106.62.
Verisk Analytics (NASDAQ:VRSK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 31st. The business services provider reported $1.06 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.01 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $601.30 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $586.22 million. Verisk Analytics had a net margin of 26.58% and a return on equity of 31.35%. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Verisk Analytics will post 4.16 EPS for the current year.
In other news, CEO Scott G. Stephenson sold 38,126 shares of Verisk Analytics stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $114.03, for a total transaction of $4,347,507.78. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 689,839 shares in the company, valued at $78,662,341.17. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Vincent De P. Mccarthy sold 3,090 shares of Verisk Analytics stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $117.43, for a total transaction of $362,858.70. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 37,127 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,359,823.61. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have bought 945 shares of company stock valued at $112,226 and have sold 376,715 shares valued at $44,173,006. 3.19% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of VRSK. Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Verisk Analytics by 729.7% during the second quarter. Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. now owns 1,836,705 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $197,703,000 after buying an additional 1,615,337 shares during the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA grew its holdings in shares of Verisk Analytics by 17.1% during the second quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 6,747,411 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $726,290,000 after buying an additional 987,698 shares during the last quarter. Unigestion Holding SA acquired a new position in shares of Verisk Analytics during the second quarter valued at about $41,819,000. Triple Frond Partners LLC acquired a new position in shares of Verisk Analytics during the second quarter valued at about $41,724,000. Finally, BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Verisk Analytics by 3.6% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 10,487,625 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,128,890,000 after buying an additional 361,670 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 92.33% of the company’s stock.
About Verisk Analytics
Verisk Analytics, Inc provides data analytics solutions for customers in the insurance, energy, and financial markets in the United States and internationally. Its Decision Analytics segment develops predictive models to forecast scenarios, and produce standard and customized analytics for predicting loss, selecting and pricing risk, detecting fraud before and after a loss event, and quantifying losses.
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