Quest Diagnostics Inc (DGX): These Investors Avoided The Plunge. Did You?

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Is Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX) a healthy stock for your portfolio? Prominent investors are becoming less hopeful. The number of bullish hedge fund bets shrunk by 4 recently. Interestingly, Quest recently reported disappointing earnings, registering an EPS of $0.89, well below consensus estimates of $ 1.03 a share.

Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX)

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With all of this in mind, it’s important to take a look at the key action encompassing Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX).

Hedge fund activity in Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX)

At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 18 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of -18% from the previous quarter. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists a select group of notable hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings significantly.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Relational Investors, managed by Ralph V. Whitworth, holds the most valuable position in Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX). Relational Investors has a $301.3 million position in the stock, comprising 5.8% of its 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Diamond Hill Capital, managed by Ric Dillon, which held a $112.4 million position; 1.3% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the stock. Some other peers that hold long positions include Ricky Sandler’s Eminence Capital, Bernard Horn’s Polaris Capital Management and Richard S. Pzena’s Pzena Investment Management.

Since Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX) has experienced falling interest from the aggregate hedge fund industry, it’s safe to say that there is a sect of fund managers that slashed their positions entirely heading into 2013. Interestingly, Donald Chiboucis’s Columbus Circle Investors dropped the biggest stake of all the hedgies we monitor, worth about $14.7 million in stock.. Richard Schimel’s fund, Diamondback Capital, also cut its stock, about $7.1 million worth. These bearish behaviors are interesting, as total hedge fund interest fell by 4 funds heading into 2013.

What do corporate executives and insiders think about Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX)?

Insider trading activity, especially when it’s bullish, is at its handiest when the company in question has experienced transactions within the past 180 days. Over the latest half-year time frame, Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX) has experienced zero unique insiders buying, and 4 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX). These stocks are Covance Inc. (NYSE:CVD), Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A), Mettler-Toledo International Inc. (NYSE:MTD), Life Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ:LIFE), and Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (NYSE:LH). This group of stocks are the members of the medical laboratories & research industry and their market caps resemble DGX’s market cap.

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