Anthem Inc (NYSE:ANTM) – Stock analysts at Jefferies Group upped their Q3 2018 EPS estimates for shares of Anthem in a research note issued on Friday. Jefferies Group analyst D. Windley now expects that the company will earn $3.25 per share for the quarter, up from their previous forecast of $2.91. Jefferies Group has a “Buy” rating and a $211.00 price target on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Anthem’s Q4 2018 earnings at $1.85 EPS.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The company reported $2.65 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.40 by $0.25. Anthem had a return on equity of 12.97% and a net margin of 3.35%. The company had revenue of $22.10 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $22.10 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $2.45 earnings per share. Anthem’s revenue was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis.

ANTM has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Royal Bank of Canada restated a “buy” rating on shares of Anthem in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Anthem from $201.00 to $215.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. BidaskClub upgraded Anthem from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Bank of America raised their price target on Anthem from $249.00 to $254.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, November 17th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Anthem from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Anthem has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $205.60.

Shares of Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) traded up $4.82 during midday trading on Monday, hitting $239.82. The company had a trading volume of 1,916,500 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,419,989. The company has a quick ratio of 1.51, a current ratio of 1.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.53. Anthem has a 52 week low of $144.44 and a 52 week high of $240.40. The company has a market capitalization of $62,070.00, a PE ratio of 21.68, a P/E/G ratio of 1.70 and a beta of 0.79.

Anthem declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback program on Thursday, December 7th that authorizes the company to buyback $5.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 21st. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 5th were paid a $0.70 dividend. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.17%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 4th. Anthem’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 25.32%.

In other news, insider Joseph Swedish sold 21,125 shares of Anthem stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $209.85, for a total transaction of $4,433,081.25. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 87,668 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $18,397,129.80. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Julie A. Hill sold 1,602 shares of Anthem stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $215.70, for a total value of $345,551.40. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 35,322 shares in the company, valued at $7,618,955.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 59,259 shares of company stock worth $13,194,281 over the last ninety days. 0.36% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB boosted its stake in shares of Anthem by 1.9% during the third quarter. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB now owns 46,610 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,850,000 after purchasing an additional 873 shares in the last quarter. British Airways Pensions Investment Management Ltd raised its position in shares of Anthem by 9.4% during the third quarter. British Airways Pensions Investment Management Ltd now owns 191,646 shares of the company’s stock worth $36,380,000 after acquiring an additional 16,403 shares during the last quarter. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA raised its position in shares of Anthem by 10.0% during the third quarter. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA now owns 8,214 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,560,000 after acquiring an additional 750 shares during the last quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. raised its position in shares of Anthem by 15.6% during the third quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 8,219 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,561,000 after acquiring an additional 1,109 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its position in shares of Anthem by 20.2% during the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 845,634 shares of the company’s stock worth $160,569,000 after acquiring an additional 142,007 shares during the last quarter. 87.41% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Anthem

Anthem, Inc is a health benefits company. The Company operates through three segments: Commercial and Specialty Business, Government Business and Other. It offers a spectrum of network-based managed care plans to large and small employer, individual, Medicaid and Medicare markets. Its managed care plans include preferred provider organizations; health maintenance organizations; point-of-service plans; indemnity plans and other hybrid plans, including consumer-driven health plans; and hospital only and limited benefit products.

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