Aetna Inc. (AET) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Buy”
Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has a $128.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target suggests a potential upside of 12.56% from the company’s current price.
According to Zacks, “Aetna expects long-term growth from its outperforming Government business. In addition, its International business provides necessary diversification benefits. Cost-reduction initiatives will also add to the bottom line. A strong balance sheet is another positive. Nevertheless, the company has been sued by the DoJ over the Humana acquisition. The deal, which would have enhanced its market power, now remains clouded in uncertainty. Aetna is also incurring losses in its public exchange business and is exiting any exchanges to save itself from the losses from this business. Moreover, its membership growth remains under pressure. Increasing medical benefit ratios and cessation of share buyback due to the pending merger of Humana will further hurt the bottom line.”
Several other research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. Credit Suisse Group AG restated a “hold” rating and issued a $120.00 target price on shares of Aetna in a report on Tuesday, September 13th. Evercore ISI started coverage on shares of Aetna in a report on Thursday, September 22nd. They issued a “buy” rating and a $128.00 target price on the stock. Leerink Swann restated an “outperform” rating on shares of Aetna in a report on Wednesday, August 24th. Wolfe Research started coverage on shares of Aetna in a report on Tuesday, June 28th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $154.00 target price on the stock. Finally, FBR & Co restated a “hold” rating on shares of Aetna in a report on Wednesday, August 17th. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $132.43.
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Shares of Aetna (NYSE:AET) opened at 113.72 on Tuesday. Aetna has a 52 week low of $92.42 and a 52 week high of $123.57. The company has a market cap of $39.89 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.66 and a beta of 0.54. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $116.09 and its 200-day moving average is $115.79.
Aetna (NYSE:AET) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $2.21 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.12 by $0.09. Aetna had a net margin of 3.89% and a return on equity of 16.44%. The business had revenue of $15.95 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $15.69 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $2.05 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 4.7% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Aetna will post $8.05 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 28th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, October 13th will be given a $0.25 dividend. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.88%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 11th. Aetna’s dividend payout ratio is presently 14.73%.
In related news, insider Shawn M. Guertin sold 45,328 shares of Aetna stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $120.21, for a total value of $5,448,878.88. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 44,883 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,395,385.43. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director Jeffrey E. Garten sold 7,100 shares of Aetna stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $116.51, for a total value of $827,221.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.90% of the stock is owned by insiders.
A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AET. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust increased its stake in Aetna by 9.7% in the second quarter. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust now owns 829 shares of the company’s stock valued at $101,000 after buying an additional 73 shares during the last quarter. Hartford Financial Management Inc. increased its stake in Aetna by 304.8% in the second quarter. Hartford Financial Management Inc. now owns 850 shares of the company’s stock valued at $101,000 after buying an additional 640 shares during the last quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Aetna by 37.3% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,105 shares of the company’s stock valued at $135,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. FirstMerit Bank N A Trustee acquired a new stake in Aetna during the second quarter valued at approximately $200,000. Finally, Genesee Valley Trust Co. acquired a new stake in Aetna during the second quarter valued at approximately $203,000. Institutional investors own 91.95% of the company’s stock.
Aetna Company Profile
Aetna Inc is a diversified healthcare benefits company. The Company operates through three segments: Health Care, Group Insurance and Large Case Pensions. The Health Care segment’s products and services consist of medical, pharmacy benefit management services, dental, behavioral health and vision plans offered on both an insured basis and an employer-funded, or administrative services contact, basis and emerging businesses products and services, such as accountable care solutions (ACS).
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