UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Year to date, the shares of UnitedHealth have returned 5.5%, underperforming the Zacks categorized HMO industry’s gain of 11.15%. 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 will be affected.  Nevertheless, the company’s strong fundamentals and diversified operations should help it counter these headwinds. On the back of its solid first-quarter earnings, the company raised its 2017 guidance. The company has also witnessed an upward revision in  earnings estimates for 2017, over the last 30 days.”

Several other analysts also recently issued reports on UNH. Vetr downgraded UnitedHealth Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, February 10th. Cantor Fitzgerald restated an “overweight” rating and issued a $205.00 price objective (up from $200.00) on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research report on Saturday, April 22nd. Leerink Swann increased their target price on UnitedHealth Group from $195.00 to $210.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 28th. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $192.00 target price (up from $186.00) on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research report on Saturday, April 22nd. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $187.00 target price (up from $186.00) on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research report on Friday, April 21st. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-two have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $182.65.

Analyst Recommendations for UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH)

Shares of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) opened at 172.59 on Friday. UnitedHealth Group has a 12 month low of $130.01 and a 12 month high of $176.14. The firm has a market capitalization of $166.32 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.09 and a beta of 0.68. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $170.26 and its 200-day moving average price is $162.54.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 18th. The healthcare conglomerate reported $2.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.17 by $0.20. UnitedHealth Group had a return on equity of 21.20% and a net margin of 3.92%. The business had revenue of $48.72 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $48.21 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.81 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 9.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts predict that UnitedHealth Group will post $9.79 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, Director William C. Ballard, Jr. sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $170.47, for a total value of $852,350.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 75,735 shares in the company, valued at $12,910,545.45. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, EVP D Ellen Wilson sold 14,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated 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 sale, the executive vice president now owns 31,993 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,456,086.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 40,148 shares of company stock valued at $6,806,849. Insiders own 1.65% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Jackson Grant Investment Advisers Inc. raised its stake in UnitedHealth Group by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Jackson Grant Investment Advisers Inc. now owns 1,093 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $175,000 after buying an additional 4 shares during the period. Biegel & Waller LLC raised its stake in UnitedHealth Group by 0.3% in the first quarter. Biegel & Waller LLC now owns 1,234 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $202,000 after buying an additional 4 shares during the period. Adirondack Trust Co. raised its stake in UnitedHealth Group by 0.5% in the first quarter. Adirondack Trust Co. now owns 990 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $162,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the period. Paradigm Financial Advisors LLC raised its stake in UnitedHealth Group by 0.4% in the first quarter. Paradigm Financial Advisors LLC now owns 2,761 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $452,000 after buying an additional 11 shares during the period. Finally, Parkside Financial Bank & Trust raised its stake in UnitedHealth Group by 1.4% in the first quarter. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust now owns 854 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $140,000 after buying an additional 12 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 86.67% of the company’s stock.

UnitedHealth Group Company Profile

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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