Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) Hits New 52-Week High Following Dividend Announcement

Shares of Moody’s Co. (NYSE:MCO) hit a new 52-week high during trading on Thursday after the company announced a dividend. The stock traded as high as $202.85 and last traded at $202.83, with a volume of 9851 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $199.77.

The newly announced dividend which will be paid on Tuesday, September 10th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, August 20th will be paid a dividend of $0.50 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, August 19th. This represents a $2.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.97%. Moody’s’s dividend payout ratio is 27.06%.

MCO has been the topic of a number of analyst reports. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $16.00 target price on WPX Energy and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, April 5th. BMO Capital Markets raised Gold Fields from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 25th. Wells Fargo & Co raised California Water Service Group to a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 25th. ValuEngine raised Yara International ASA from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 19th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a GBX 3,200 ($41.81) target price on Diageo and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $189.18.

The stock has a market capitalization of $37.88 billion, a P/E ratio of 27.78, a P/E/G ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 1.25. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $192.86. The company has a current ratio of 1.45, a quick ratio of 1.45 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 17.70.

Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 24th. The business services provider reported $2.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.88 by $0.19. Moody’s had a return on equity of 281.55% and a net margin of 29.38%. The company had revenue of $1.14 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.13 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $2.02 earnings per share. Moody’s’s revenue was up 1.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts predict that Moody’s Co. will post 7.92 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, CEO Raymond W. Mcdaniel sold 7,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $198.46, for a total value of $1,488,450.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 212,794 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $42,231,097.24. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, SVP Melanie Hughes sold 3,039 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $197.52, for a total value of $600,263.28. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 3,912 shares in the company, valued at approximately $772,698.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 147,854 shares of company stock worth $27,854,940. 0.90% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Moody’s by 2.2% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 12,278,489 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $2,223,511,000 after acquiring an additional 265,811 shares in the last quarter. Fiera Capital Corp boosted its position in Moody’s by 3.7% during the 1st quarter. Fiera Capital Corp now owns 6,406,787 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,160,205,000 after acquiring an additional 230,386 shares in the last quarter. Baillie Gifford & Co. boosted its position in Moody’s by 0.3% during the 1st quarter. Baillie Gifford & Co. now owns 6,012,312 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,088,769,000 after acquiring an additional 17,364 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC boosted its position in Moody’s by 15.7% during the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 4,583,309 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $829,991,000 after acquiring an additional 620,741 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its position in Moody’s by 20.6% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 2,402,887 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $335,962,000 after acquiring an additional 410,864 shares in the last quarter. 92.80% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Moody’s (NYSE:MCO)

Moody's Corporation provides credit ratings; and credit, capital markets, and economic research, data, and analytical tools worldwide. It operates through two segments, Moody's Investors Service and Moody's Analytics. The Moody's Investors Service segment publishes credit ratings on various debt obligations and entities that issue such obligations, such as various corporate and governmental obligations, structured finance securities, and commercial paper programs.

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