Equities analysts forecast that Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) will post earnings of $2.33 per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Seven analysts have issued estimates for Aetna’s earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $2.38 and the lowest is $2.28. Aetna reported earnings of $2.21 per share during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 5.4%. The firm is expected to issue its next earnings report before the market opens on Thursday, August 3rd.

On average, analysts expect that Aetna will report full-year earnings of $8.99 per share for the current financial year, with EPS estimates ranging from $8.88 to $9.10. For the next fiscal year, analysts forecast that the business will report earnings of $9.95 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $9.74 to $10.11. Zacks’ earnings per share averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that that provide coverage for Aetna.

Aetna (NYSE:AET) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 2nd. The company reported $2.71 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.36 by $0.35. Aetna had a net margin of 1.84% and a return on equity of 17.75%. The company had revenue of $15.17 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $15.39 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $2.30 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 3.4% compared to the same quarter last year.

A number of equities research analysts have issued reports on AET shares. CIBC reiterated an “outperform” rating on shares of Aetna in a research report on Monday, April 3rd. Vetr upgraded shares of Aetna from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $121.77 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, February 20th. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $145.00 target price on shares of Aetna in a research report on Monday, April 24th. Bank of America Corporation reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $168.00 target price (up previously from $160.00) on shares of Aetna in a research report on Wednesday, May 17th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated an “overweight” rating and issued a $140.00 target price on shares of Aetna in a research report on Tuesday, February 21st. Eight research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $147.99.

Shares of Aetna (NYSE:AET) traded up 0.72% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $151.67. 1,278,635 shares of the stock traded hands. The company has a market cap of $50.31 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 46.25 and a beta of 0.48. Aetna has a 52 week low of $104.59 and a 52 week high of $152.35. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $144.12 and a 200-day moving average of $131.19.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, July 28th. Investors of record on Thursday, July 13th will be paid a $0.50 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, July 11th. This represents a $2.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.33%. Aetna’s payout ratio is presently 62.31%.

In related news, Chairman Mark T. Bertolini sold 103,547 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $140.79, for a total value of $14,578,382.13. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 659,888 shares in the company, valued at approximately $92,905,631.52. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Margaret M. Mccarthy sold 27,028 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, June 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $149.23, for a total transaction of $4,033,388.44. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 33,563 shares in the company, valued at $5,008,606.49. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 160,177 shares of company stock worth $22,440,789 over the last quarter. 1.14% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of AET. FTB Advisors Inc. raised its position in Aetna by 11.0% in the first quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 977 shares of the company’s stock worth $125,000 after buying an additional 97 shares during the last quarter. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd purchased a new position in Aetna during the fourth quarter worth about $124,000. Signature Estate & Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Aetna during the first quarter worth about $133,000. Horan Capital Management purchased a new position in Aetna during the first quarter worth about $157,000. Finally, Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America raised its position in Aetna by 0.7% in the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,353 shares of the company’s stock worth $173,000 after buying an additional 9 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.88% of the company’s stock.

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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. It offers a range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, medical management capabilities, Medicaid healthcare management services, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology (HIT) products and services.

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