Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Aetna Inc. (AET) to “Buy”
Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday. The brokerage presently has a $128.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s target price would indicate a potential upside of 11.58% from the company’s previous close.
According to Zacks, “Aetna expects long-term growth from its outperforming Government business. In addition, its International business provides necessary diversification benefits. Cost-reduction initiatives will also add to the bottom line. A strong balance sheet is another positive. Nevertheless, the company has been sued by the DoJ over the Humana acquisition. The deal, which would have enhanced its market power, now remains clouded in uncertainty. Aetna is also incurring losses in its public exchange business and is exiting any exchanges to save itself from the losses from this business. Moreover, its membership growth remains under pressure. Increasing medical benefit ratios and cessation of share buyback due to the pending merger of Humana will further hurt the bottom line.”
Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Leerink Swann restated a “buy” rating and issued a $135.00 target price on shares of Aetna in a research note on Thursday, August 4th. Morgan Stanley restated a “buy” rating on shares of Aetna in a research note on Tuesday, June 14th. FBR & Co restated a “hold” rating on shares of Aetna in a research note on Wednesday, August 17th. Credit Suisse Group AG restated a “hold” rating and issued a $120.00 target price on shares of Aetna in a research note on Wednesday, August 17th. Finally, Wolfe Research downgraded shares of Aetna from an “outperform” rating to a “peer perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 21st. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $132.43.
Aetna (NYSE:AET) traded down 0.31% on Tuesday, reaching $114.37. The company had a trading volume of 673,042 shares. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $116.72 and its 200-day moving average price is $115.78. The stock has a market capitalization of $40.12 billion, a PE ratio of 16.76 and a beta of 0.54. Aetna has a 12-month low of $92.42 and a 12-month high of $123.57.
Aetna (NYSE:AET) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $2.21 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.12 by $0.09. The business had revenue of $15.95 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $15.69 billion. Aetna had a net margin of 3.89% and a return on equity of 16.44%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $2.05 EPS. Equities analysts expect that Aetna will post $8.05 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 28th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, October 13th will be paid a dividend of $0.25 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, October 11th. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.87%. Aetna’s payout ratio is 14.73%.
In other news, Director Jeffrey E. Garten sold 7,100 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $116.51, for a total value of $827,221.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Shawn M. Guertin sold 45,328 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $120.21, for a total transaction of $5,448,878.88. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 44,883 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,395,385.43. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.90% of the company’s stock.
Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AET. Evercore Wealth Management LLC raised its stake in Aetna by 167.7% in the second quarter. Evercore Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,053 shares of the company’s stock worth $251,000 after buying an additional 1,286 shares during the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its stake in Aetna by 5.8% in the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 175,079 shares of the company’s stock worth $21,382,000 after buying an additional 9,547 shares during the last quarter. Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund acquired a new stake in Aetna during the second quarter worth $1,729,000. Kentucky Retirement Systems acquired a new stake in Aetna during the second quarter worth $3,641,000. Finally, KAMES CAPITAL plc raised its stake in Aetna by 1.9% in the second quarter. KAMES CAPITAL plc now owns 654,879 shares of the company’s stock worth $79,980,000 after buying an additional 12,415 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 91.95% of the company’s stock.
Aetna Company Profile
Aetna Inc is a diversified healthcare benefits company. The Company operates through three segments: Health Care, Group Insurance and Large Case Pensions. The Health Care segment’s products and services consist of medical, pharmacy benefit management services, dental, behavioral health and vision plans offered on both an insured basis and an employer-funded, or administrative services contact, basis and emerging businesses products and services, such as accountable care solutions (ACS).
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