Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Express Scripts has outperformed the industry in the past year.  The company has been gaining from strong performance by the core PBM unit. Developments in the company’s Inside Rx program also buoy optimism. Further, its recently-acquired eviCore's complementary medical-benefit solutions are likely to build a comprehensive PBM solution worldwide. Introduction of Flex Formulary and myDataSense by the company are positive developments. The company is also getting acquired by Cigna by December 2018. However, Express Scripts currently faces persistent drug pricing issue. Express Scripts announced that its biggest customer and leading health insurer Anthem is not likely to extend the PBM agreement with the company anymore. Furthermore, the company has currently suspended share repurchase program because of the merger agreement with Cigna. Express Scripts has not provided any guidance for 2018.”

A number of other research analysts have also recently commented on ESRX. Barclays increased their target price on Express Scripts from $83.00 to $90.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research note on Thursday, November 1st. Maxim Group reissued a hold rating on shares of Express Scripts in a research note on Thursday, November 1st. William Blair cut Express Scripts from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 31st. Royal Bank of Canada set a $101.00 target price on Express Scripts and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, November 1st. Finally, Cowen reissued a buy rating and issued a $88.00 target price on shares of Express Scripts in a research note on Friday, November 2nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have issued a hold rating, four have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. Express Scripts has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $92.14.

Express Scripts stock opened at $95.85 on Wednesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $55.25 billion, a PE ratio of 13.50, a PEG ratio of 1.23 and a beta of 0.88. Express Scripts has a fifty-two week low of $66.93 and a fifty-two week high of $101.73. The company has a current ratio of 0.77, a quick ratio of 0.65 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63.

Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, October 31st. The company reported $2.43 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.42 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $25.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $25.11 billion. Express Scripts had a return on equity of 25.43% and a net margin of 4.83%. The firm’s revenue was up 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $2.51 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts anticipate that Express Scripts will post 9.08 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Express Scripts news, Director Mahon Thomas P. Mac sold 5,234 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $99.50, for a total transaction of $520,783.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 0.79% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ESRX. Acadian Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in Express Scripts during the second quarter valued at about $314,000. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. boosted its position in Express Scripts by 3,048.1% during the second quarter. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. now owns 1,637 shares of the company’s stock valued at $126,000 after buying an additional 1,585 shares during the period. Connor Clark & Lunn Investment Management Ltd. boosted its position in Express Scripts by 44.7% during the second quarter. Connor Clark & Lunn Investment Management Ltd. now owns 32,125 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,480,000 after buying an additional 9,925 shares during the period. Adviser Investments LLC boosted its position in Express Scripts by 321.9% during the second quarter. Adviser Investments LLC now owns 1,481 shares of the company’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 1,130 shares during the period. Finally, Alps Advisors Inc. boosted its position in Express Scripts by 10.5% during the second quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 13,019 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,005,000 after buying an additional 1,238 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 85.02% of the company’s stock.

Express Scripts Company Profile

Express Scripts Holding Company operates as a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company in the United States and Canada. The company's PBM segment offers clinical solutions; and specialized pharmacy care, home delivery and specialty pharmacy, retail network pharmacy administration, benefit design consultation, drug utilization review, drug formulary management, public exchange, administration of group purchasing organization, and digital consumer health and drug information services.

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Analyst Recommendations for Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX)

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