Zacks Investment Research Lowers Verisign (VRSN) to Hold

Verisign (NASDAQ:VRSN) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “VeriSign reported solid fourth-quarter 2018 results. Both revenues and earnings increased on a year-over-year basis. Revenue growth was driven by growth in .com and .net domain name registrations. Notably, per the recently amended cooperative agreement between the company and the U.S. Commerce Department, VeriSign has the flexibility to pursue with ICANN an up to 7% increase in prices for .com domain names in each of the last four years of each six-year period of the registry agreement. Moreover, the divestiture of customer contracts of its Security Services business to NeuStar will help VeriSign to focus on core operations. Shares have outperformed the industry in the past year.”

Other analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Robert W. Baird raised shares of Verisign from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $160.00 to $170.00 in a research report on Friday, November 2nd. BidaskClub cut shares of Verisign from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, November 16th. Citigroup upped their target price on shares of Verisign from $152.00 to $155.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, November 2nd. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Verisign from an “underweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and upped their target price for the company from $125.00 to $160.00 in a research note on Friday, November 2nd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $167.00.

Shares of VRSN stock traded down $1.29 during midday trading on Monday, reaching $171.80. 7,868 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 617,414. Verisign has a 12 month low of $105.40 and a 12 month high of $176.76. The company has a market capitalization of $20.93 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 36.15 and a beta of 1.00.

Verisign (NASDAQ:VRSN) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 7th. The information services provider reported $1.58 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.21 by $0.37. Verisign had a net margin of 47.94% and a negative return on equity of 42.50%. The business had revenue of $307.45 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $308.64 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.96 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 4.0% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, sell-side analysts anticipate that Verisign will post 4.76 EPS for the current year.

In other news, EVP Thomas C. Indelicarto sold 3,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $150.81, for a total value of $497,673.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 55,871 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,425,905.51. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 1.35% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its stake in shares of Verisign by 41,120.7% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 3,763,452 shares of the information services provider’s stock valued at $25,000 after purchasing an additional 3,754,322 shares during the last quarter. Athena Capital Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of Verisign in the 4th quarter valued at about $39,000. Signet Investment Advisory Group Inc. bought a new position in shares of Verisign in the 4th quarter valued at about $44,000. Sage Capital Advisors llc bought a new position in shares of Verisign in the 4th quarter valued at about $62,000. Finally, Lindbrook Capital LLC bought a new position in shares of Verisign in the 4th quarter valued at about $64,000. 95.81% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Verisign Company Profile

VeriSign, Inc provides domain name registry services and Internet security worldwide. The company offers registry services that operate the authoritative directory of .com, .net, .cc, .tv, .gov, .jobs, .edu, .name, and other domain names. Its registry services allow individuals and organizations to establish their online identities.

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