Anthem (ANTM) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Buy”

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Monday, April 9th. The brokerage currently has a $252.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price points to a potential upside of 9.79% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Anthem's shares have outperformed the industry in the last six months. Its diverse product portfolio has helped in improving underwriting results. Its strategic acquisitions, divestitures and ACO arrangements pave the way for long-term growth. The company’s rising level of medical membership continues to boost the top line. Its strong capital position backs effective capital deployment via share buyback programs and regular dividend payments. The company has seen the Zacks Consensus Estinmate for 2018 earnings being revised upward in the last 60 days. However, loss incurred on public exchange business continues to bother. Also rising level of debt and expenses keep draining the margins. The company will release first quarter 2018 results on Apr 25 before the market opens.”

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A number of other equities research analysts have also recently commented on ANTM. Jefferies Group upgraded shares of Anthem from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and reduced their price target for the stock from $235.00 to $211.00 in a report on Friday, January 12th. Barclays began coverage on shares of Anthem in a report on Thursday, March 8th. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $270.00 price target for the company. Goldman Sachs began coverage on shares of Anthem in a research note on Wednesday, January 3rd. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $243.00 price objective on the stock. ValuEngine raised shares of Anthem from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Sunday, December 31st. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $275.00 price objective on shares of Anthem in a research note on Friday, January 19th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $236.13.

Shares of NYSE:ANTM opened at $229.52 on Monday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.55, a current ratio of 1.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.66. Anthem has a one year low of $165.65 and a one year high of $267.95. The company has a market capitalization of $57,606.48, a P/E ratio of 18.79, a P/E/G ratio of 1.30 and a beta of 0.90.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, January 31st. The company reported $1.29 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.25 by $0.04. Anthem had a net margin of 4.27% and a return on equity of 12.29%. The firm had revenue of $22.45 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $22.17 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.76 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts forecast that Anthem will post 15.1 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, CFO John E. Gallina sold 24,576 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $229.81, for a total value of $5,647,810.56. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 22,139 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,087,763.59. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Thomas C. Zielinski sold 20,455 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $229.23, for a total transaction of $4,688,899.65. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 139,246 shares of company stock valued at $32,966,554. 0.31% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of ANTM. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL purchased a new position in Anthem during the 3rd quarter valued at $418,000. Stifel Financial Corp increased its position in Anthem by 4.1% during the 3rd quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 27,350 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,187,000 after purchasing an additional 1,074 shares during the period. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. increased its position in Anthem by 10.9% during the 3rd quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. now owns 3,361 shares of the company’s stock valued at $638,000 after purchasing an additional 331 shares during the period. Caxton Associates LP purchased a new stake in shares of Anthem in the 3rd quarter worth about $589,000. Finally, Laurel Wealth Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Anthem in the 3rd quarter worth about $295,000. 88.27% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Anthem

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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