Accenture (NYSE:ACN) Rating Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Accenture (NYSE:ACN) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday morning, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $214.00 target price on the information technology services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Accenture has been steadily gaining traction in its outsourcing and consulting businesses. The company has been strategically enhancing its cloud and digital marketing suite through acquisitions and partnerships, thereby affecting its share price, which has outperformed its industry in the past year.. The company’s strong operating cash flow has helped it reward its shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases, and pursue opportunities in areas that show true potential. Accenture is currently a global leader in the Salesforce implementation service space. However, Accenture continues to face pricing pressure due to significant competition from strong companies like Genpact, Cognizant and Infosys. Global presence exposes Accenture to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. Buyout-related integration risks is a concern.”

ACN has been the subject of a number of other reports. Citigroup increased their price objective on shares of Accenture from $194.00 to $211.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, June 20th. Deutsche Bank increased their price objective on shares of Accenture from $180.00 to $190.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Monday, June 10th. Argus increased their price objective on shares of Accenture to $220.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Monday, July 15th. Credit Suisse Group set a $180.00 price objective on shares of Accenture and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Friday, June 28th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co increased their price objective on shares of Accenture from $193.00 to $200.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research note on Thursday, June 13th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $196.63.

Shares of NYSE ACN opened at $195.52 on Monday. The firm has a market cap of $130.92 billion, a PE ratio of 29.01, a PEG ratio of 2.37 and a beta of 1.04. Accenture has a 1-year low of $132.63 and a 1-year high of $202.80. The company has a fifty day moving average price of $194.48 and a 200 day moving average price of $182.26.

Accenture (NYSE:ACN) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, June 27th. The information technology services provider reported $1.93 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.89 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $11.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.03 billion. Accenture had a net margin of 10.93% and a return on equity of 36.24%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.79 EPS. Analysts expect that Accenture will post 7.33 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, insider Richard Lumb sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $186.35, for a total value of $372,700.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 77,240 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $14,393,674. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Paula A. Price sold 645 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $194.24, for a total transaction of $125,284.80. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 6,716 shares in the company, valued at $1,304,515.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 22,760 shares of company stock worth $4,353,328. 0.18% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of ACN. Nuveen Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Accenture by 32,251.5% in the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 5,585,165 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $1,031,971,000 after purchasing an additional 5,567,901 shares during the period. Lazard Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Accenture by 23.0% in the 1st quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 6,270,138 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $1,103,668,000 after purchasing an additional 1,173,313 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Accenture by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 55,373,798 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $10,231,417,000 after purchasing an additional 909,318 shares during the period. Railway Pension Investments Ltd bought a new stake in shares of Accenture in the 2nd quarter valued at about $15,355,000. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Accenture by 70.0% in the 2nd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 1,732,160 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $320,051,000 after purchasing an additional 713,027 shares during the period. 69.88% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Accenture

Accenture plc provides consulting, technology, and outsourcing services in Ireland and internationally. Its Communications, Media & Technology segment provides professional services that help clients accelerate and deliver digital transformation, develop industry-specific solutions, and enhance efficiencies and business results for communications, media, high tech, software, and platform companies.

Further Reading: What Factors Can Affect Return on Equity?

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Accenture (ACN)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Accenture (NYSE:ACN)

Receive News & Ratings for Accenture Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Accenture and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.