Zacks Investment Research Upgrades MarketAxess (MKTX) to “Strong-Buy”

MarketAxess (NASDAQ:MKTX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday. The firm presently has a $238.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective points to a potential upside of 14.85% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “MarketAxess’ stock has outperformed the industry in a year's time. MarketAxess’ results have been impressive for long courtesy of growth in revenues, improving trading volumes, ongoing investments in areas including Open Trading, launch of products and its strong market position in U.S. credit. Also, it continues to benefit from international business, with strength in both emerging markets and Eurobond spaces. Its selective acquisitions and strategic lliances have aided its top line growth. However, its escalating costs remain a significant headwind. Its expenses are expected to rise over the coming quarters given ongoing investments in several areas including trading platform, new protocols and infrastructure as well as headcount additions. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 earnings being revised 14.5% upward over the last 30 days.”

MKTX has been the topic of several other reports. Goldman Sachs Group downgraded shares of MarketAxess from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $210.00 price objective on the stock. in a report on Monday. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $215.00 price objective on shares of MarketAxess in a report on Friday, December 22nd. Finally, Rosenblatt Securities assumed coverage on shares of MarketAxess in a report on Thursday, December 14th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $190.00 price objective on the stock. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. MarketAxess has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $202.86.

Shares of MarketAxess (MKTX) opened at $207.23 on Monday. MarketAxess has a twelve month low of $153.74 and a twelve month high of $211.06. The stock has a market cap of $7,778.78, a price-to-earnings ratio of 53.27 and a beta of 0.70.

MarketAxess (NASDAQ:MKTX) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The financial services provider reported $0.90 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.90. MarketAxess had a net margin of 37.67% and a return on equity of 30.12%. The firm had revenue of $96.70 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $96.35 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.82 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 7.1% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts anticipate that MarketAxess will post 3.93 EPS for the current fiscal year.

MarketAxess declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $100.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, insider Nicholas Themelis sold 4,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $176.40, for a total value of $705,600.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO Richard M. Mcvey sold 35,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $178.29, for a total transaction of $6,240,150.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 1,113,076 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $198,450,320.04. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 50,225 shares of company stock worth $8,955,630. Insiders own 4.02% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MKTX. Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its position in shares of MarketAxess by 178.5% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 807,088 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $162,306,000 after buying an additional 517,309 shares during the last quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC acquired a new stake in shares of MarketAxess in the third quarter valued at about $75,376,000. Allianz Asset Management GmbH raised its position in shares of MarketAxess by 503.9% in the third quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 192,657 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $35,547,000 after buying an additional 160,755 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its position in shares of MarketAxess by 36.7% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 491,713 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $98,883,000 after buying an additional 131,911 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its position in shares of MarketAxess by 10.3% in the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 1,232,534 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $227,415,000 after buying an additional 115,038 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.65% of the company’s stock.

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About MarketAxess

MarketAxess Holdings Inc operates an electronic trading platform that enables fixed-income market participants to trade corporate bonds and other types of fixed-income instruments using its trading technology. Institutional investor and broker-dealer firms are users of trading platform, accessing global liquidity in the United States corporate bonds, emerging markets and high-yield bonds, European bonds, the United States agency bonds, municipal bonds, credit default swaps and other fixed-income securities.

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