Equifax Inc. (EFX) was just a stone's throw away from its 52-week high on Thursday, after the stock rallied 94 basis points to $142.72 in the session. The mood quickly soured in the after-hours session, though, when the company reported a massive hacking.
And massive it was. Equifax, the HR and information solutions company out of Atlanta, GA, reported that up to 143 million U.S. customers were affected. Information ranging from birth dates, driver license numbers, social security numbers and addresses were accessed.
The breach was discovered on July 29. Three days after the hacking, two executives -- one of which included CFO John Gamble -- sold shares. The two combined for nearly $1.6 million in stock sales, but were then followed by a third executive a day after, who sold $250,000 worth of stock. None of these sales were part of a scheduled stock plan, although the company says none of them knew about the hacking.
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Despite the negative smear spreading across EFX, could shares actually rebound? Initially, EFX stock fell to roughly $118 in premarket trading, down about 17%. But by 8:30 a.m. ET, shares were down just 13.5%. There's one analyst that believes even that may be too much. Shares remained down 14% in early trading.
Deutsche Bank analyst Kevin McVeigh says shares could close down just 10%. According to McVeigh's calculations, Equifax could be looking at a $300 million to $400 million setback for services such as credit monitoring, regulatory fines and penalties. Investors should wait for the stock to find some solid footing before accumulating, he said, maintaining his buy rating and $160 price target.
McVeigh also says investors should buy TransUnion (TRU) on any EFX weakness. Shares can fall 3% to 5% before rebounding, he cautioned, and that appears at least semi-accurate, with TRU stock off 2.8% in premarket trading Friday. There down about 5.4% in the first hour or trading.
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