Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Wednesday, January 3rd. The brokerage currently has $78.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Successful integration of acquisitions, achievement of cost synergies and reduced debt level well poise Intercontinental Exchange for long term growth. Also, continued strength in its energy franchise, increasing recurring market data revenues and ongoing initiatives should keep growth on track. For 2017, management expects data services revenues to increase at least 6% in constant currency. The company remains on track to return $1.4 billion in capital to shareholders in 2017. However, foreign currency fluctuations and stricter regulations raise concerns. Also, the company estimates fourth-quarter expenses in the range of $475-$485 million with interest expenses to be $50 million for fourth-quarter 2017, respectively. Shares of Intercontinental Exchange have underperformed the industry in a year's time.”

Other equities analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. UBS Group upped their price objective on shares of Intercontinental Exchange from $73.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. Citigroup upped their price objective on shares of Intercontinental Exchange from $67.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research report on Thursday, October 19th. Barclays upped their price objective on shares of Intercontinental Exchange from $72.00 to $78.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 10th. Royal Bank of Canada increased their price target on shares of Intercontinental Exchange from $70.00 to $76.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Monday, October 16th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co increased their price target on shares of Intercontinental Exchange from $65.00 to $73.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $76.73.

Shares of Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE) traded down $0.38 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $74.13. 661,392 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,182,467. Intercontinental Exchange has a 52 week low of $56.80 and a 52 week high of $76.14. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.30, a quick ratio of 1.01 and a current ratio of 1.01. The stock has a market cap of $43,430.00, a P/E ratio of 26.93, a PEG ratio of 2.60 and a beta of 0.70.

Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The financial services provider reported $0.73 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $1.14 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.14 billion. Intercontinental Exchange had a net margin of 27.91% and a return on equity of 11.01%. Intercontinental Exchange’s quarterly revenue was up 6.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.64 EPS. research analysts expect that Intercontinental Exchange will post 2.94 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Intercontinental Exchange announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, November 2nd that permits the company to buyback $1.20 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the financial services provider to purchase up to 3.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Intercontinental Exchange news, CFO Scott A. Hill sold 7,526 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.00, for a total transaction of $564,450.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 202,371 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $15,177,825. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Vice Chairman Charles A. Vice sold 7,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.93, for a total transaction of $539,475.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 377,471 shares in the company, valued at $27,151,489.03. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 61,410 shares of company stock worth $4,436,172 over the last ninety days. 1.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in Intercontinental Exchange by 2.1% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 40,162,938 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $2,647,541,000 after buying an additional 844,270 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in Intercontinental Exchange by 1.1% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 35,446,221 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $2,336,613,000 after buying an additional 396,042 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp lifted its position in Intercontinental Exchange by 19.9% during the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 11,355,251 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $748,538,000 after buying an additional 1,883,432 shares in the last quarter. Carmignac Gestion lifted its position in Intercontinental Exchange by 0.4% during the second quarter. Carmignac Gestion now owns 10,375,555 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $683,957,000 after buying an additional 40,000 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC lifted its position in Intercontinental Exchange by 14.6% during the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 10,373,823 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $712,683,000 after buying an additional 1,325,290 shares in the last quarter. 90.10% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Intercontinental Exchange Company Profile

Intercontinental Exchange Inc, formerly IntercontinentalExchange Group, Inc, is a network of regulated exchanges and clearing houses for financial and commodity markets. The Company delivers transparent and accessible data, technology and risk management services to markets around the world through its portfolio of exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, ICE Futures, Liffe and Euronext.

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