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Accenture (ACN) Touches 52-Week High: What's Driving It?

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Zacks Equity Research
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Shares of Accenture plc ACN scaled a 52-week high of $288.10 in the trading session on Apr 12, before closing a tad lower at $287.54.

The company’s shares have charted a solid trajectory in recent times, appreciating 66.6% over the past year, ahead of 64.1% growth of the industry it belongs to and 52.7% surge of the Zacks S&P composite index.

Notably, Accenture has witnessed a 7.7% rise in share price since it posted second-quarter fiscal 2021 results.

Let’s find out what’s supporting the uptick.

Upbeat Fiscal 2021 Guidance

Accenture has raised its guidance for fiscal year 2021. Revenues are now expected to register 6.5-8.5% growth in terms of local currency compared with the prior growth rate of 4-6%.

The company expects adjusted EPS in the range of $8.32-$8.50 compared with the prior-guided range of $8.02-$8.25. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate of $8.48 lies within the updated guidance. Operating cash flow is now anticipated in the range of $7.65-$8.15 billion compared with the prior guidance of $6.65-$7.15 billion. Free cash flow is now expected between $7.0 billion and $7.5 billion, compared with the prior-guided of $6.0 billion-$6.5 billion. Operating margin for the fiscal year is expected to be between 15.0% and 15.1%, compared with the prior guidance of 14.8% to 15.0%.

Consecutive Earnings & Revenue Beat

Accenture came up with better-than-expected earnings and revenue performance in five of the last seven quarters. The company’s bottom line continued to benefit from higher revenues and operating numbers.

Boosting Cloud Capabilities

Accenture’s strategy of enhancing its cloud capabilities through acquisitions and partnerships is a step in the right direction. This is evident from the recent forecast by several independent research firms. Per International Data Corporation, global spending on public cloud services and infrastructure market will witness a compounded annual growth rate or CAGR of 22.3% during the 2019-2023 period. Therefore, considering the growing need for cloud-based applications and software, we expect Accenture’s investments in this space to propel long-term growth.

Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider

Accenture currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Some other top-ranked stocks in the broader Zacks Business Services sector are Omnicom OMC, Charles River Associates CRAI and Gartner IT, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2.

The long-term expected earnings per share (three to five years) growth rate for Omnicom, Charles River Associates and Gartner is 9.3%, 13% and 13.5%, respectively.

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Charles River Associates (CRAI) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Accenture PLC (ACN) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Gartner, Inc. (IT) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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