UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH) Lifted to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday. The brokerage presently has a $203.00 price target on the healthcare conglomerate’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would indicate a potential upside of 10.92% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “UnitedHealth Group’s strong Government business and continued strong growth at Optum are driving long term growth. Its international business and strong capital position are other positives. On the back of its solid first-quarter earnings, the company raised its 2017 guidance. Nevertheless, year to date, the shares have returned 14.4%, underperforming the Zacks categorized HMO industry’s gain of 18.3%. Recently, an ex-employee of the company played whistleblower, accusing it of overcharging $1 billion on the Medicare Advantage policies sold between 2011 and 2014. The DoJ has also filed a lawsuit for the same. Moreover, the company has reduced its exposure to the troubled public exchange business. Though this move will shield it from losses in this business, the company’s premium revenues are likely to be affected.”

Several other equities analysts have also issued reports on UNH. Leerink Swann reaffirmed an “outperform” rating on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Friday, June 9th. BidaskClub raised shares of UnitedHealth Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, June 9th. Vetr lowered shares of UnitedHealth Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $186.50 price target on the stock. in a report on Monday, June 5th. Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and issued a $205.00 price target (up from $200.00) on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Saturday, April 22nd. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $192.00 price target (up from $186.00) on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Saturday, April 22nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-five have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $184.31.

Analyst Recommendations for UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH)

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE UNH) traded down 0.07% during trading on Tuesday, reaching $182.90. The company had a trading volume of 981,714 shares. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $176.41 and a 200-day moving average of $167.27. The stock has a market capitalization of $176.25 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.41 and a beta of 0.65. UnitedHealth Group has a 12-month low of $132.39 and a 12-month high of $183.76.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 18th. The healthcare conglomerate reported $2.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.17 by $0.20. UnitedHealth Group had a net margin of 4.13% and a return on equity of 21.42%. The business had revenue of $48.72 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $48.21 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.81 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that UnitedHealth Group will post $9.80 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, June 27th. Shareholders of record on Monday, June 19th will be issued a $0.75 dividend. This is a boost from UnitedHealth Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.63. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 15th. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.64%. UnitedHealth Group’s payout ratio is presently 37.36%.

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In other UnitedHealth Group news, EVP D Ellen Wilson sold 14,000 shares of UnitedHealth Group stock in a transaction on Wednesday, April 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $170.54, for a total value of $2,387,560.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 31,993 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,456,086.22. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Kenneth Irwin Shine sold 838 shares of UnitedHealth Group stock in a transaction on Wednesday, April 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $169.12, for a total transaction of $141,722.56. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 28,528 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,824,655.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 30,378 shares of company stock valued at $5,285,052 in the last ninety days. 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 UNH. Pathstone Family Office LLC purchased a new position in UnitedHealth Group during the first quarter worth $100,000. Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC boosted its position in UnitedHealth Group by 1,722.9% in the first quarter. Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC now owns 638 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $106,000 after buying an additional 603 shares during the last quarter. Intellectus Partners LLC purchased a new position in UnitedHealth Group during the fourth quarter worth $111,000. Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in UnitedHealth Group during the fourth quarter worth $111,000. Finally, Cribstone Capital Management LLC boosted its position in UnitedHealth Group by 22.6% in the first quarter. Cribstone Capital Management LLC now owns 678 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $113,000 after buying an additional 125 shares during the last quarter. 86.73% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is a health and well-being company. The Company operates through four segments: UnitedHealthcare, OptumHealth, OptumInsight and OptumRx. It conducts its operations through two business platforms: health benefits operating under UnitedHealthcare and health services operating under Optum.

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