UnitedHealth Group (UNH) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “UnitedHealth Group yet again delivered a positive earnings surprise with first-quarter bottom line beating estimates and increasing year over year on higher revenues and membership growth. Additionally, each of the company’s business delivered double-digit earnings growth. Robust Government business and continued strong performance at Optum are driving long-term growth. Its international business and strong capital position driving business investment are the other positives. The company has been witnessing an increase in membership over the past many years. It again lifted its 2018 earnings guidance, buoying optimism among investors in the stock. Shares of UnitedHealth Group have outperformed the industry year to date. However, membership loss in its fee-based commercial as well as Brazilian businesses will contract the overall membership growth for UnitedHealth Group. Additionally, higher medical care ratio raises concern.”

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A number of other analysts have also recently issued reports on UNH. Oppenheimer increased their price objective on UnitedHealth Group from $260.00 to $276.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday. JPMorgan Chase increased their price objective on UnitedHealth Group to $266.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $275.00 price objective on UnitedHealth Group and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday. Piper Jaffray reissued a “buy” rating and set a $270.00 price objective on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Wednesday. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald increased their price objective on UnitedHealth Group to $300.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-six have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $251.13.

Shares of NYSE UNH traded down $0.69 during trading on Thursday, reaching $235.71. 1,417,487 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 3,896,715. UnitedHealth Group has a 52-week low of $166.65 and a 52-week high of $250.79. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56, a current ratio of 0.71 and a quick ratio of 0.73. The stock has a market capitalization of $230,835.98, a PE ratio of 23.42, a P/E/G ratio of 1.39 and a beta of 0.77.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 17th. The healthcare conglomerate reported $3.04 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.91 by $0.13. UnitedHealth Group had a return on equity of 22.06% and a net margin of 5.41%. The firm had revenue of $55.19 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $54.90 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $2.37 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.3% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts expect that UnitedHealth Group will post 12.53 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Director Richard T. Burke sold 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $224.36, for a total transaction of $2,243,600.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 1,771,257 shares in the company, valued at approximately $397,399,220.52. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Kenneth Irwin Shine sold 198 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $242.55, for a total value of $48,024.90. Following the transaction, the director now owns 1,790,567 shares in the company, valued at $434,302,025.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 77,015 shares of company stock worth $17,879,199. 0.89% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in UnitedHealth Group by 4.1% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 9,969,166 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $2,193,088,000 after buying an additional 395,090 shares during the period. Alliancebernstein L.P. lifted its holdings in UnitedHealth Group by 1.3% in the 4th quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 7,334,593 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $1,616,984,000 after buying an additional 96,727 shares during the period. Jennison Associates LLC lifted its holdings in UnitedHealth Group by 10.2% in the 4th quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 6,107,513 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $1,346,462,000 after buying an additional 565,536 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc lifted its holdings in UnitedHealth Group by 1.3% in the 3rd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 5,153,894 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $1,009,355,000 after buying an additional 68,196 shares during the period. Finally, UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. lifted its holdings in UnitedHealth Group by 11.4% in the 4th quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 5,013,564 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $1,105,290,000 after buying an additional 512,182 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 86.78% of the company’s stock.

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UnitedHealth Group Company Profile

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 care coverage, and 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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