Nielsen (NLSN) Lifted to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Nielsen’s well performing Watch segment remains the key driver of its top-line growth. Its continued strength in Audience Measurement is a tailwind. Further, positive contributions from Gracenote acquisition are major positives. Moreover, strong share buyback policy of the company is helping it in gaining investors’ confidence. We believe the company’s consistent investment in product portfolio and its growing clientele are expected to continue aiding its business growth in the near term as well as in the long haul. However, Nielsen is being impacted by sluggishness in the U.S. Buy segment and unimpressive performance in the emerging markets. Further, the company’s continued investments in technology and infrastructure remain risks for margin expansion and profitability. Notably, the stock has underperformed the industry it belongs to on a year-to-date basis.”

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Morgan Stanley set a $26.00 target price on Nielsen and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, August 14th. Robert W. Baird increased their target price on Nielsen from $26.00 to $30.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, August 14th. Citigroup lowered their target price on Nielsen from $41.00 to $29.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a report on Monday, August 20th. Pivotal Research cut Nielsen from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $27.00 target price for the company. in a report on Wednesday, August 15th. Finally, Barclays upgraded Nielsen from an underweight rating to an equal weight rating and increased their target price for the stock from $21.00 to $27.00 in a report on Tuesday, August 14th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $29.67.

NLSN stock traded up $0.02 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $27.17. 3,138,013 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 3,399,967. The stock has a market cap of $9.64 billion, a PE ratio of 12.88, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.47 and a beta of 0.88. The company has a current ratio of 1.14, a quick ratio of 1.14 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.97. Nielsen has a 12 month low of $20.53 and a 12 month high of $39.25.

Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The business services provider reported $0.27 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.25 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $1.60 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.58 billion. Nielsen had a return on equity of 14.56% and a net margin of 4.85%. On average, analysts forecast that Nielsen will post 1.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, December 5th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, November 21st will be paid a dividend of $0.35 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, November 20th. This represents a $1.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.15%. Nielsen’s dividend payout ratio is 66.35%.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Nielsen by 1.9% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 37,099,203 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $1,026,163,000 after buying an additional 688,591 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC boosted its stake in shares of Nielsen by 3.6% during the 3rd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 22,521,897 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $622,956,000 after buying an additional 781,199 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its stake in shares of Nielsen by 59.7% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 9,051,524 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $250,365,000 after buying an additional 3,383,596 shares during the last quarter. Windacre Partnership LLC boosted its stake in shares of Nielsen by 8.6% during the 3rd quarter. Windacre Partnership LLC now owns 7,098,100 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $196,333,000 after buying an additional 562,000 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Clarkston Capital Partners LLC boosted its stake in shares of Nielsen by 89.7% during the 3rd quarter. Clarkston Capital Partners LLC now owns 5,511,355 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $152,444,000 after buying an additional 2,606,195 shares during the last quarter.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings plc, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an information and measurement company. It operates through Buy and Watch segments. The company provides media and marketing information, analytics, and manufacturer and retailer expertise about what and where consumers buy, read, watch, and listen.

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