Anthem (ANTM) Raised to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

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Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday, June 20th. The brokerage currently has a $274.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would indicate a potential upside of 15.11% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Anthem's prudent acquisitions, improving net investment income, divestitures and ACO arrangements pave the way for long-term growth of the company. Its diverse product portfolio has also helped improving its underwriting results. Following the acquisition of America's 1st Choice and HealthSun Anthem, Anthem emerged as the third largest Medicare Advantage plan in the fast-growing Florida market. The company’s solid medical membership should boost its revenues. Its strong capital position backs effective capital deployment via share buybacks and regular dividends. The company’s shares have witnessed its 2018 and 2019 earnings estimates move upward. However, reduction in individual membership from exits in the ACA-compliant marketplace dragged the top line. Shares of the company have underperformed the growth of its industry in the past year. Loss incurred on public exchange business and rising debt continue to bother.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on the company. ValuEngine cut Anthem from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, June 1st. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price objective on Anthem from $280.00 to $284.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 26th. Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on Anthem from $266.00 to $269.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 26th. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $332.00 target price on Anthem and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 26th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded Anthem from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 26th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Anthem presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $254.08.

Shares of ANTM opened at $238.03 on Wednesday. Anthem has a 52-week low of $179.40 and a 52-week high of $267.95. The firm has a market capitalization of $61.06 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.77, a P/E/G ratio of 1.33 and a beta of 0.84. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.67, a current ratio of 1.49 and a quick ratio of 1.49.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 25th. The company reported $5.41 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $4.83 by $0.58. The firm had revenue of $22.34 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $22.55 billion. Anthem had a return on equity of 12.77% and a net margin of 4.60%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $4.68 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that Anthem will post 15.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Anthem news, Director Robert L. Dixon, Jr. sold 1,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $231.10, for a total transaction of $231,100.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, CEO Brian T. Griffin sold 59,421 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $224.41, for a total value of $13,334,666.61. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 25,619 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,749,159.79. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 61,421 shares of company stock worth $13,798,767 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.31% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in shares of Anthem by 2.7% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 22,596,529 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,964,457,000 after buying an additional 596,099 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Anthem by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 2,864,024 shares of the company’s stock valued at $643,146,000 after buying an additional 51,003 shares in the last quarter. Viking Global Investors LP boosted its holdings in Anthem by 190.5% in the fourth quarter. Viking Global Investors LP now owns 2,537,576 shares of the company’s stock valued at $570,980,000 after purchasing an additional 1,664,112 shares during the last quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. boosted its holdings in Anthem by 7.9% in the first quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 2,335,287 shares of the company’s stock valued at $513,063,000 after purchasing an additional 171,708 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Allianz Asset Management GmbH boosted its holdings in Anthem by 31.5% in the first quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 2,108,871 shares of the company’s stock valued at $463,319,000 after purchasing an additional 505,252 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 87.50% of the company’s stock.

Anthem Company Profile

Anthem, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates as a health benefits company in the United States. It operates through three segments: Commercial & Specialty Business, Government Business, and Other. The company offers a spectrum of network-based managed care health benefit plans to large and small group, individual, Medicaid, and Medicare markets.

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