Wall Street brokerages expect Anthem, Inc. (NYSE:ANTM) to post $22.18 billion in sales for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Six analysts have made estimates for Anthem’s earnings, with the lowest sales estimate coming in at $21.86 billion and the highest estimate coming in at $22.32 billion. Anthem reported sales of $21.48 billion in the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 3.3%. The business is scheduled to issue its next earnings report on Wednesday, February 7th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Anthem will report full year sales of $22.18 billion for the current year, with estimates ranging from $88.47 billion to $89.59 billion. For the next year, analysts forecast that the company will report sales of $90.69 billion per share, with estimates ranging from $87.26 billion to $93.79 billion. Zacks’ sales calculations are a mean average based on a survey of research firms that that provide coverage for Anthem.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 25th. The company reported $2.65 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.40 by $0.25. The firm had revenue of $22.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $22.10 billion. Anthem had a net margin of 3.35% and a return on equity of 12.97%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $2.45 EPS.

ANTM has been the subject of several analyst reports. B. Riley reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Anthem in a research note on Wednesday, December 6th. Jefferies Group increased their price objective on shares of Anthem from $204.00 to $211.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, October 13th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Anthem from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $207.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, September 20th. Morgan Stanley increased their price objective on shares of Anthem from $196.00 to $201.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 17th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group initiated coverage on shares of Anthem in a research note on Thursday, November 2nd. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $234.00 price objective for the company. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $201.07.

In related news, insider Joseph Swedish sold 21,125 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $190.63, for a total value of $4,027,058.75. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, SVP Ronald W. Penczek sold 978 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $217.42, for a total transaction of $212,636.76. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 1,222 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $265,687.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 65,955 shares of company stock valued at $13,907,287. 0.36% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Trexquant Investment LP bought a new position in Anthem in the 2nd quarter valued at $245,000. Sigma Planning Corp boosted its holdings in Anthem by 9.2% in the 2nd quarter. Sigma Planning Corp now owns 1,412 shares of the company’s stock valued at $266,000 after purchasing an additional 119 shares during the period. Convergence Investment Partners LLC bought a new position in Anthem in the 2nd quarter valued at $564,000. LMR Partners LLP bought a new position in Anthem in the 2nd quarter valued at $2,769,000. Finally, Northpointe Capital LLC bought a new position in Anthem in the 2nd quarter valued at $2,422,000. 87.75% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Anthem (NYSE ANTM) traded up $3.31 during trading hours on Thursday, reaching $232.06. 2,604,600 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,605,304. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.53, a quick ratio of 1.51 and a current ratio of 1.51. The stock has a market cap of $58,733.96, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.36, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.79 and a beta of 0.79. Anthem has a 52-week low of $140.50 and a 52-week high of $236.39.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 21st. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 5th will be issued a $0.70 dividend. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.21%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, December 4th. Anthem’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 25.32%.

Anthem declared that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, December 7th that allows the company to repurchase $5.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

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About Anthem

Anthem, Inc is a health benefits company. The Company operates through three segments: Commercial and Specialty Business, Government Business and Other. It offers a spectrum of network-based managed care plans to large and small employer, individual, Medicaid and Medicare markets. Its managed care plans include preferred provider organizations; health maintenance organizations; point-of-service plans; indemnity plans and other hybrid plans, including consumer-driven health plans; and hospital only and limited benefit products.

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