Humana Inc (NYSE:HUM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Thursday. The firm presently has a $257.00 price objective on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 10.96% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Humana’s continuous margin growth, accretive acquisitions, efficient capital deployment, business diversification initiatives and consistent revenue growth paved the way for long-term growth. The company’s earnings per share of $2.75 beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate and improved 38% year over year, primarily due to the receipt of the break up fee from the terminated merger with Aetna and outstanding performance by the Retail segment. Its strong balance sheet is another positive. In fact, the stock gained 32% as against the Zacks categorized HMO industry’s increase of 30%, in last one year. However, cancellation of the merger with Aetna, which would have solidified its position in the industry, lowered Humana’s face value in the market. Moreover, stiff competition, and weakness in individual commercial business raise concerns.”

Several other research analysts have also commented on the stock. Cantor Fitzgerald assumed coverage on shares of Humana in a research note on Monday, February 6th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $186.00 price target on the stock. Cowen and Company restated an “outperform” rating and set a $230.00 price target on shares of Humana in a research note on Tuesday, April 25th. Bank of America Corp assumed coverage on shares of Humana in a research note on Friday, January 27th. They set a “buy” rating on the stock. Evercore ISI restated an “overweight” rating on shares of Humana in a research note on Monday, February 27th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC restated a “buy” rating and set a $237.00 price target on shares of Humana in a research note on Friday, March 24th. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $215.50.

Analyst Recommendations for Humana (NYSE:HUM)

Humana (NYSE:HUM) traded up 0.09% during trading on Thursday, hitting $231.81. 29,867 shares of the company traded hands. Humana has a one year low of $150.00 and a one year high of $233.66. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $221.60 and a 200 day moving average of $209.34. The firm has a market cap of $33.45 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.63 and a beta of 0.91.

Humana (NYSE:HUM) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 3rd. The insurance provider reported $2.75 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.55 by $0.20. The firm had revenue of $13.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $13.61 billion. Humana had a net margin of 1.09% and a return on equity of 13.09%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.86 EPS. On average, analysts expect that Humana will post $11.14 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 31st. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 30th will be issued a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.69%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, June 28th. Humana’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 29.59%.

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In other Humana news, SVP Brian P. Leclaire sold 4,971 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, February 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $204.81, for a total value of $1,018,110.51. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 14,258 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,920,180.98. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Cynthia H. Zipperle sold 1,885 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, March 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $213.37, for a total transaction of $402,202.45. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 3,736 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $797,150.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 179,125 shares of company stock valued at $39,910,315. Insiders own 0.50% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans increased its position in Humana by 6.3% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 6,065 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,235,000 after buying an additional 360 shares during the last quarter. Baldwin Brothers Inc. MA increased its position in Humana by 2.7% in the first quarter. Baldwin Brothers Inc. MA now owns 67,441 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $13,902,000 after buying an additional 1,782 shares during the last quarter. A.R.T. Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Humana during the fourth quarter worth approximately $3,427,000. Bain Capital Public Equity Management LLC acquired a new position in Humana during the fourth quarter worth approximately $35,079,000. Finally, Guggenheim Capital LLC increased its position in Humana by 51.0% in the fourth quarter. Guggenheim Capital LLC now owns 262,580 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $53,574,000 after buying an additional 88,685 shares during the last quarter. 93.00% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Humana Company Profile

Humana Inc is a health and well-being company. The Company’s segments include Retail, Group, Healthcare Services and Other Businesses. The Retail segment consists of Medicare benefits, as well as individual commercial fully insured medical and specialty health insurance benefits, including dental, vision, and other supplemental health and financial protection products.

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