Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $219.00 target price on the healthcare conglomerate’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of UnitedHealth Group has outperformed the industry in last one year. Its  robust Government business and continued strong growth at Optum are driving long-term growth. Its international business, growing membership and strong capital position are the other positives. In the most recently reported quarter, the company reported better-than-expected earnings, driven by an increase in revenues and membership. Encouraged by its impressive first-half earnings, the company raised the 2017 guidance.”

UNH has been the subject of a number of other reports. Barclays PLC upped their price objective on shares of UnitedHealth Group from $200.00 to $217.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Cowen and Company reiterated a buy rating on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Friday, July 14th. Leerink Swann restated an outperform rating on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Friday, June 9th. Jefferies Group LLC restated a buy rating and set a $215.00 price target on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Friday, August 18th. Finally, BidaskClub cut shares of UnitedHealth Group from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-five have issued a buy rating to the stock. UnitedHealth Group presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $203.59.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) opened at 193.03 on Thursday. UnitedHealth Group has a one year low of $133.03 and a one year high of $200.76. The firm has a market cap of $186.63 billion, a PE ratio of 23.19 and a beta of 0.63. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $195.56 and a 200-day moving average price of $181.26.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 18th. The healthcare conglomerate reported $2.46 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.38 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $50.05 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $49.97 billion. UnitedHealth Group had a net margin of 4.32% and a return on equity of 21.52%. UnitedHealth Group’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.96 earnings per share. Equities analysts predict that UnitedHealth Group will post $9.87 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 19th. Investors of record on Friday, September 8th were given a $0.75 dividend. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.55%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 7th. UnitedHealth Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 35.13%.

In related news, Director William C. Ballard, Jr. sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $193.98, for a total value of $969,900.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 76,058 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $14,753,730.84. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Larry C. Renfro sold 50,574 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $198.11, for a total transaction of $10,019,215.14. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 195,625 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $38,755,268.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 76,174 shares of company stock valued at $14,981,909 in the last three months. Company insiders own 0.89% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Honeywell International Inc. acquired a new position in UnitedHealth Group in the first quarter worth about $35,262,000. Suntrust Banks Inc. raised its position in UnitedHealth Group by 8.5% in the first quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 260,811 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $42,774,000 after purchasing an additional 20,541 shares in the last quarter. Moody Lynn & Lieberson LLC raised its position in UnitedHealth Group by 569.9% in the second quarter. Moody Lynn & Lieberson LLC now owns 8,937 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $1,657,000 after purchasing an additional 7,603 shares in the last quarter. Shell Asset Management Co. raised its position in UnitedHealth Group by 0.8% in the second quarter. Shell Asset Management Co. now owns 157,241 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $29,156,000 after purchasing an additional 1,254 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Blair William & Co. IL raised its position in UnitedHealth Group by 34.5% in the first quarter. Blair William & Co. IL now owns 107,415 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $17,648,000 after purchasing an additional 27,560 shares in the last quarter. 86.19% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

UnitedHealth Group Company Profile

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is a health and well-being company. The Company operates through four segments: UnitedHealthcare, OptumHealth, OptumInsight and OptumRx. It conducts its operations through two business platforms: health benefits operating under UnitedHealthcare and health services operating under Optum.

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Analyst Recommendations for UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH)

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