Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) – Investment analysts at Jefferies Group lowered their Q3 2017 earnings per share estimates for shares of Aetna in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday. Jefferies Group analyst D. Windley now forecasts that the company will post earnings per share of $2.08 for the quarter, down from their prior forecast of $2.28. Jefferies Group has a “Hold” rating and a $163.00 price target on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Aetna’s FY2017 earnings at $9.55 EPS and FY2018 earnings at $10.19 EPS.

Aetna (NYSE:AET) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The company reported $3.42 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.34 by $1.08. Aetna had a net margin of 2.52% and a return on equity of 20.52%. The firm had revenue of $15.52 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $15.34 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $2.21 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.7% on a year-over-year basis.

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Other equities research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. UBS AG reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $160.00 price target (up from $147.00) on shares of Aetna in a report on Wednesday, May 17th. Argus reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $165.00 price target (up from $145.00) on shares of Aetna in a report on Tuesday, May 30th. Deutsche Bank AG upped their price target on shares of Aetna from $157.00 to $163.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Monday. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $155.00 price target on shares of Aetna in a report on Wednesday, May 17th. Finally, Cleveland Research upgraded shares of Aetna from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, May 11th. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $155.78.

Shares of Aetna (AET) opened at 156.99 on Monday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $153.22 and its 200 day moving average is $137.42. The firm has a market capitalization of $52.07 billion, a PE ratio of 47.88 and a beta of 0.54. Aetna has a 52-week low of $104.59 and a 52-week high of $157.79.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AET. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Aetna by 3,374.9% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 30,712,219 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,917,344,000 after buying an additional 29,828,390 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in Aetna by 3.8% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 23,117,526 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,948,640,000 after buying an additional 838,578 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its stake in Aetna by 2.2% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 7,903,233 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,008,059,000 after buying an additional 167,261 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in Aetna by 3.9% in the first quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 4,378,982 shares of the company’s stock worth $558,540,000 after buying an additional 165,278 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its stake in Aetna by 0.6% in the first quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 3,962,514 shares of the company’s stock worth $505,399,000 after buying an additional 21,953 shares in the last quarter. 91.73% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In other news, EVP Margaret M. Mccarthy sold 27,028 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $149.23, for a total value of $4,033,388.44. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 33,563 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,008,606.49. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman Mark T. Bertolini sold 103,547 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $140.79, for a total transaction of $14,578,382.13. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 659,888 shares in the company, valued at $92,905,631.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.14% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, July 28th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, July 13th were given a $0.50 dividend. This represents a $2.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.27%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, July 11th. Aetna’s dividend payout ratio is presently 43.67%.

About Aetna

Aetna Inc is a diversified healthcare benefits company. The Company operates through three segments: Health Care, Group Insurance and Large Case Pensions. It offers a range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, medical management capabilities, Medicaid healthcare management services, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology (HIT) products and services.

Earnings History and Estimates for Aetna (NYSE:AET)

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