A number of research firms have changed their ratings and price targets for Aetna (NYSE: AET):

  • 10/16/2017 – Aetna was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Aetna’s shares outperformed the industry year to date. We expect the company to derive long-term growth from its Government business. Cost-reduction initiatives and growing ACO collaborations pave the way for long-term growth. A strong balance sheet is another positive. Its International expansion is also perceived as an opportunity in the face of increased regulation in the U.S. Following strong second-quarter results, Aetna rasied its earnings guidance which cements investors' confidence in the company. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised 6.3% upward over the last 90 days. Aetna has, however, been incurring losses in its public exchange business and has been exiting exchanges to avoid losses from this business. Furthermore, its membership growth remains under pressure. Increasing medical benefit ratios are also likely to hurt margins.”
  • 10/16/2017 – Aetna is now covered by analysts at BMO Capital Markets. They set a “market perform” rating and a $175.00 price target on the stock.
  • 10/13/2017 – Aetna had its price target raised by analysts at Jefferies Group LLC from $163.00 to $165.00. They now have a “hold” rating on the stock.
  • 10/12/2017 – Aetna was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $174.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Aetna’s shares outperformed the industry year to date. We expect the company to derive long-term growth from its Government business. Cost-reduction initiatives and growing ACO collaborations pave the way for long-term growth. A strong balance sheet is another positive. Its International expansion is also perceived as an opportunity in the face of increased regulation in the U.S. Following strong second-quarter results, Aetna rasied its earnings guidance which cements investors' confidence in the company. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised 6.3% upward over the last 90 days. Aetna has, however, been incurring losses in its public exchange business and has been exiting exchanges to avoid losses from this business. Furthermore, its membership growth remains under pressure. Increasing medical benefit ratios are also likely to hurt margins.”
  • 10/3/2017 – Aetna was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Aetna’s shares outperformed the industry year to date. We expect the company to derive long-term growth from its Government business. Cost-reduction initiatives and growing ACO collaborations pave the way for long-term growth. A strong balance sheet is another positive. Its International expansion is also perceived as an opportunity in the face of increased regulation in the U.S. Following strong second-quarter results, Aetna rasied its earnings guidance which cements investors' confidence in the company. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised 6.1% upward over the last 60 days.”
  • 9/12/2017 – Aetna had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Argus. They now have a $185.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $165.00.

Shares of Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) opened at 155.90 on Wednesday. Aetna Inc. has a 1-year low of $104.59 and a 1-year high of $164.52. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $158.29 and a 200-day moving average price of $149.19. The company has a market cap of $51.77 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.61 and a beta of 0.53.

Aetna (NYSE:AET) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The company reported $3.42 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.34 by $1.08. The business had revenue of $15.52 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $15.34 billion. Aetna had a return on equity of 20.52% and a net margin of 2.52%. Aetna’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $2.21 EPS. Analysts predict that Aetna Inc. will post $9.51 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 27th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, October 12th will be given a $0.50 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 11th. This represents a $2.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.28%. Aetna’s payout ratio is 43.67%.

In other Aetna news, EVP Margaret M. Mccarthy sold 10,288 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, September 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $162.85, for a total value of $1,675,400.80. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 33,563 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,465,734.55. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, President Karen S. Lynch sold 15,271 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, September 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $161.91, for a total value of $2,472,527.61. Following the completion of the transaction, the president now owns 64,261 shares in the company, valued at $10,404,498.51. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.14% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

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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