Equities analysts expect Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) to post $15.30 billion in sales for the current quarter, Zacks reports. Seven analysts have issued estimates for Aetna’s earnings, with the lowest sales estimate coming in at $14.75 billion and the highest estimate coming in at $15.67 billion. Aetna posted sales of $15.90 billion during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a negative year over year growth rate of 3.8%. The company is expected to announce its next quarterly earnings results before the market opens on Thursday, August 3rd.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Aetna will report full-year sales of $15.30 billion for the current year, with estimates ranging from $59.54 billion to $61.58 billion. For the next fiscal year, analysts anticipate that the firm will post sales of $64.10 billion per share, with estimates ranging from $61.54 billion to $67.20 billion. Zacks’ sales averages are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that follow Aetna.

Aetna (NYSE:AET) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The company reported $2.71 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.36 by $0.35. Aetna had a return on equity of 17.75% and a net margin of 1.84%. The firm had revenue of $15.17 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $15.39 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $2.30 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.4% compared to the same quarter last year.

Several brokerages have weighed in on AET. Royal Bank Of Canada raised their target price on shares of Aetna from $147.00 to $162.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, June 9th. Morgan Stanley began coverage on shares of Aetna in a research note on Tuesday, June 6th. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $162.00 target price for the company. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Aetna from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Cowen and Company set a $170.00 target price on shares of Aetna and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, May 27th. Finally, Argus restated a “buy” rating and issued a $165.00 target price (up from $145.00) on shares of Aetna in a research note on Tuesday, May 30th. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $147.99.

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Shares of Aetna (NYSE AET) opened at 151.60 on Wednesday. Aetna has a 12 month low of $104.59 and a 12 month high of $152.35. The company has a market capitalization of $50.29 billion, a PE ratio of 46.23 and a beta of 0.48. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $145.02 and a 200-day moving average price of $131.45.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, July 28th. Investors of record on Thursday, July 13th will be given a dividend of $0.50 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, July 11th. This represents a $2.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.32%. Aetna’s dividend payout ratio is presently 62.31%.

In related news, EVP Margaret M. Mccarthy sold 27,028 shares of the business’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 directly owns 33,563 shares in the company, valued at $5,008,606.49. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Chairman Mark T. Bertolini sold 103,547 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $140.79, for a total transaction of $14,578,382.13. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 659,888 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $92,905,631.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 160,177 shares of company stock valued at $22,440,789 over the last 90 days. 1.14% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd acquired a new position in Aetna during the fourth quarter worth about $124,000. FTB Advisors Inc. increased 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 in the last quarter. Signature Estate & Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Aetna during the first quarter worth about $133,000. Horan Capital Management acquired a new position in Aetna during the first quarter worth about $157,000. Finally, Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America increased 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 in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 91.88% of the company’s stock.

About Aetna

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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