UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

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UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday, Zacks.com reports. The firm presently has a $269.00 target price on the healthcare conglomerate’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 5.49% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “UnitedHealth Group’s earnings of $3.60 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4%, and were up 15% year over year. It stands apart in the industry by virtue of healthcare services, technology and innovations offered by its unit, Optum. Numerous acquisitions, made by the company, has broadened its business profile and provide benefits of diversification. Its solid balance sheet and consistent cash flow generation enabled investment in business which will drive long term growth. Also, capital management by dividend payment and share buyback is another positive. However, slowdown of growth in international operations, underperformance in Medicaid business are some concerns. An increase in leverage and interest burden raises financial risk. The stock has underperformed its industry in a year's time.”

Other research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Raymond James reissued a “buy” rating on shares of West Fraser Timber in a research note on Friday, July 19th. ValuEngine lowered Acceleron Pharma from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, April 18th. Barclays set a $24.00 price objective on Tenet Healthcare and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 17th. UBS Group set a $36.00 price objective on Halliburton and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 23rd. Finally, SunTrust Banks cut their price objective on UnitedHealth Group to $300.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, April 17th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and eighteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $295.06.

NYSE:UNH opened at $255.01 on Monday. UnitedHealth Group has a 1 year low of $208.07 and a 1 year high of $287.94. The company has a market capitalization of $243.91 billion, a PE ratio of 19.80, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.37 and a beta of 0.62. The stock has a fifty day simple moving average of $250.17. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a quick ratio of 0.73 and a current ratio of 0.67.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 18th. The healthcare conglomerate reported $3.60 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $3.46 by $0.14. UnitedHealth Group had a return on equity of 25.20% and a net margin of 5.51%. The company had revenue of $60.60 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $60.59 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $3.14 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that UnitedHealth Group will post 14.81 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other UnitedHealth Group news, Director Frederick William Mcnabb III acquired 6,430 shares of UnitedHealth Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 1st. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $233.21 per share, with a total value of $1,499,540.30. Following the purchase, the director now owns 7,879 shares in the company, valued at $1,837,461.59. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO David S. Wichmann acquired 20,000 shares of UnitedHealth Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 3rd. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $231.79 per share, with a total value of $4,635,800.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the chief executive officer now owns 904,367 shares in the company, valued at approximately $209,623,226.93. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 25,000 shares of company stock valued at $6,095,000. 0.82% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in UNH. Private Advisors LLC increased its position in UnitedHealth Group by 57.9% in the 1st quarter. Private Advisors LLC now owns 6,501 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $1,607,000 after purchasing an additional 2,385 shares during the last quarter. First City Capital Management Inc. acquired a new position in UnitedHealth Group in the 4th quarter worth about $580,000. Enterprise Bank & Trust Co acquired a new position in UnitedHealth Group in the 1st quarter worth about $3,785,000. Moneta Group Investment Advisors LLC increased its position in UnitedHealth Group by 4.9% in the 4th quarter. Moneta Group Investment Advisors LLC now owns 6,969 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $1,736,000 after purchasing an additional 328 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. increased its position in UnitedHealth Group by 4.5% in the 4th quarter. Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. now owns 103,701 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $25,834,000 after purchasing an additional 4,420 shares during the last quarter. 85.65% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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