UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “UnitedHealth's solid balance sheet, strong operating performance, favorable business profile and disciplined enterprise risk management are commendable. The company also benefits from the services, technology and innovations offered by its segment Optum. However, slowdowns of growth in international operations, underperformance in Medicaid business, and increase in leverage and interest burden are some headwinds. The stock has underperformed its industry, year to date. Also slowdown of growth in international operations, underperformance in Medicaid business, and increase in leverage and interest burden are some headwinds.”

Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on UNH. Bank of America restated a “buy” rating and set a $290.00 price target (down previously from $320.00) on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research report on Wednesday, April 17th. SunTrust Banks reduced their price target on shares of UnitedHealth Group to $300.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, April 17th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. ValuEngine lowered shares of UnitedHealth Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 18th. UBS Group assumed coverage on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research report on Tuesday, April 23rd. They set a “neutral” rating and a $238.00 price target for the company. Finally, Citigroup reduced their price target on shares of UnitedHealth Group from $288.00 to $247.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, April 17th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating, eighteen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. UnitedHealth Group has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $290.84.

Shares of UNH stock opened at $249.34 on Tuesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $229.39 billion, a PE ratio of 19.36, a PEG ratio of 1.29 and a beta of 0.74. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63, a current ratio of 0.73 and a quick ratio of 0.73. UnitedHealth Group has a one year low of $208.07 and a one year high of $287.94.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, April 16th. The healthcare conglomerate reported $3.73 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $3.60 by $0.13. The company had revenue of $60.30 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $59.72 billion. UnitedHealth Group had a net margin of 5.45% and a return on equity of 25.07%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $3.04 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that UnitedHealth Group will post 14.7 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other UnitedHealth Group news, Director Gail R. Wilensky sold 2,930 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $253.39, for a total transaction of $742,432.70. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 64,726 shares in the company, valued at $16,400,921.14. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Richard T. Burke sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, April 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $229.75, for a total transaction of $2,297,500.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 187,663 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $43,115,574.25. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 27,930 shares of company stock valued at $6,746,683 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.87% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Crewe Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of UnitedHealth Group in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $25,000. Harvest Group Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in UnitedHealth Group in the first quarter valued at approximately $31,000. Pearl River Capital LLC purchased a new stake in UnitedHealth Group in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $35,000. Canton Hathaway LLC purchased a new stake in UnitedHealth Group in the first quarter valued at approximately $36,000. Finally, OLD Second National Bank of Aurora raised its stake in UnitedHealth Group by 70.0% in the fourth quarter. OLD Second National Bank of Aurora now owns 170 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock valued at $42,000 after purchasing an additional 70 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 87.29% of the company’s stock.

About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates as a diversified health care company in the United States. It operates through four segments: UnitedHealthcare, OptumHealth, OptumInsight, and OptumRx. The UnitedHealthcare segment offers consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services for national employers, public sector employers, mid-sized employers, small businesses, and individuals; health and well-being services to individuals age 50 and older, addressing their needs for preventive and acute health care services, as well as services dealing with chronic disease and other specialized issues for older individuals; and Medicaid plans, Children's Health Insurance Program, and health care programs; and health and dental benefits.

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