Zacks Investment Research Lowers Accenture (ACN) to Sell

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

According to Zacks, “Accenture’s market share and revenues dependence on client relationships and the number of contracts it secures remains a concern. This, along with the limited scope for product differentiation, makes the renegotiation of large contracts extremely important. As a result, competition from strong companies is a constant pressure. Further, foreign currency exchange rate risks and integration risks continue to hurt the company’s prospects. Despite such headwinds, Accenture has been steadily gaining traction in its outsourcing business. Acquisitions have been a key growth catalyst. Further, the company has been strategically enhancing its cloud and digital marketing suite. Its strong operating cash flow has helped it reward its shareholders. The company has outperformed its industry in the past year.”

A number of other analysts also recently weighed in on ACN. Wedbush reiterated an outperform rating and issued a $180.00 price target (up from $165.00) on shares of Accenture in a research report on Tuesday, March 20th. Susquehanna Bancshares upgraded shares of Accenture from a neutral rating to a positive rating and increased their price target for the company from $165.00 to $190.00 in a research report on Tuesday. UBS Group upgraded shares of Accenture from a neutral rating to a positive rating in a research report on Tuesday. Pivotal Research set a $180.00 price target on shares of Accenture and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Monday, June 11th. Finally, Robert W. Baird increased their price target on shares of Accenture from $162.00 to $165.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 20th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and seventeen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $164.59.

Shares of NYSE:ACN opened at $159.63 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $102.77 billion, a P/E ratio of 27.01, a PEG ratio of 2.42 and a beta of 1.03. Accenture has a fifty-two week low of $121.72 and a fifty-two week high of $165.58.

Accenture (NYSE:ACN) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, March 22nd. The information technology services provider reported $1.58 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.49 by $0.09. The business had revenue of $9.59 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.31 billion. Accenture had a net margin of 9.18% and a return on equity of 41.50%. Accenture’s revenue for the quarter was up 15.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.33 EPS. research analysts predict that Accenture will post 6.68 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, insider Jean-Marc Ollagnier sold 1,637 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $150.87, for a total transaction of $246,974.19. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 186,112 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $28,078,717.44. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Pierre Nanterme sold 36,858 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $150.80, for a total transaction of $5,558,186.40. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 357,405 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $53,896,674. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 53,828 shares of company stock valued at $8,145,630 over the last ninety days. Company insiders own 0.21% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Deutsche Bank AG grew its stake in shares of Accenture by 34.3% during the 4th quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 1,453,595 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock worth $222,522,000 after acquiring an additional 370,895 shares in the last quarter. Financial Advocates Investment Management bought a new position in shares of Accenture during the 1st quarter worth approximately $357,000. Lazard Asset Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Accenture by 2.6% during the 4th quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 4,338,133 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock worth $664,123,000 after acquiring an additional 109,935 shares in the last quarter. Ironvine Capital Partners LLC bought a new position in shares of Accenture in the fourth quarter valued at $2,040,000. Finally, Pittenger & Anderson Inc. grew its stake in shares of Accenture by 1.0% in the fourth quarter. Pittenger & Anderson Inc. now owns 81,850 shares of the information technology services provider’s stock valued at $12,530,000 after buying an additional 815 shares in the last quarter. 73.67% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Accenture

Accenture plc provides consulting, technology, and outsourcing services worldwide. Its Communications, Media & Technology segment provides professional services that help clients accelerate and deliver digital transformation, and enhance business results through industry-specific solutions for communications, media, and high tech industries, as well as for software platforms.

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