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Citi On Accenture: 'Good Execution But Priced In'

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Citi On Accenture: 'Good Execution But Priced In'

Despite reporting better-than-expected earnings and strong bookings, Citi expects Accenture Plc (NYSE: ACN) shares to be range-bound and maintains its Neutral rating, as it believes the good execution is already priced in to the stock.

Accenture finished 2016 with a strong 9 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter, driven by Consulting, "the New" (digital, cloud, security), and the products segment.

"Much as we admire and applaud Accenture's track record of performance, we are unwilling to recommend that new money be put to work in a name that delivers ~10 percent EPS CAGR but trades at 20x forward earnings," analyst Ashwin Shirvaikar wrote in a note.

Related Link: Accenture The Best House In A Tough Neighborhood

In fact, Shirvaikar prefers focused emerging technology plays such as EPAM Systems Inc (NYSE: EPAM) or platform plays such as WNS (Holdings) Limited (ADR) (NYSE: WNS) and Amdocs Limited (NASDAQ: DOX).

In the large cap space, the analyst would put his money on Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp (NASDAQ: CTSH) that "deliver comparable total return at a considerably cheaper multiple."

Meanwhile, the positives in Accenture's results include no FX impact in guidance, strong performance and commentary in Financial Services, and dividend increase. On the flip side, the company Indicated decelerating growth for all operating segments.

However, Shirvaikar raised his price target to $120 from $116 on the increased EPS.

Shares of Accenture were seen trading at $122.57, up 0.76 percent, at time of writing. Cognizant was down 14.95 percent at $46.73.

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Latest Ratings for ACN

DateFirmActionFromTo
Mar 2020UBSMaintainsNeutral
Mar 2020CitigroupMaintainsBuy
Mar 2020Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweight

View More Analyst Ratings for ACN
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