Shares of Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) have received an average recommendation of “Buy” from the twenty-five research firms that are covering the company, MarketBeat.com reports. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have issued a buy rating on the company. The average 1-year target price among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $154.99.

AET has been the topic of several recent research reports. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $150.00 price objective (up from $130.00) on shares of Aetna in a report on Wednesday, May 3rd. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Aetna from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $143.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, April 4th. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $145.00 price objective on shares of Aetna in a report on Monday, April 24th. Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $150.00 price objective on shares of Aetna in a report on Friday, May 12th. Finally, Cleveland Research raised shares of Aetna from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, May 11th.

In other Aetna news, EVP Margaret M. Mccarthy sold 27,028 shares of the company’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 document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Mark T. Bertolini sold 103,547 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 17th. The stock was 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. Corporate insiders own 1.14% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of AET. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Aetna by 3,374.9% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 30,712,219 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,917,344,000 after buying an additional 29,828,390 shares in the last quarter. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd bought a new position in Aetna during the fourth quarter worth $335,443,000. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Aetna by 3.8% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 23,117,526 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,948,640,000 after buying an additional 838,578 shares in the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC boosted its position in Aetna by 26.0% in the first quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 3,639,077 shares of the company’s stock worth $464,165,000 after buying an additional 751,166 shares in the last quarter. Finally, UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. boosted its position in Aetna by 29.2% in the first quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 2,376,132 shares of the company’s stock worth $303,076,000 after buying an additional 537,604 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 91.80% of the company’s stock.

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Shares of Aetna (NYSE:AET) traded down 0.15% during trading on Monday, hitting $156.08. 1,288,572 shares of the stock traded hands. Aetna has a 12 month low of $104.59 and a 12 month high of $156.87. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $152.15 and its 200-day moving average price is $136.01. The stock has a market cap of $51.77 billion, a PE ratio of 47.60 and a beta of 0.54.

Aetna (NYSE:AET) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The company reported $2.71 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.36 by $0.35. The company had revenue of $15.17 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $15.39 billion. Aetna had a net margin of 1.84% and a return on equity of 17.75%. Aetna’s revenue was down 3.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $2.30 EPS. Analysts anticipate that Aetna will post $8.99 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, July 28th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, July 13th will be given a dividend of $0.50 per share. This represents a $2.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.28%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, July 11th. Aetna’s dividend payout ratio is presently 62.31%.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Aetna (NYSE:AET)

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