Humana (NYSE:HUM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday. The brokerage presently has a $297.00 price objective on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would suggest a potential upside of 10.81% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Humana is well poised to grow on its strong government business. Its top line has been witnessing an uptrend for past many years. Sufficient generation of cash flow has helped the company take up several capital deployment initiatives aimed at enhancing shareholders’ value. Humana’s sound balance sheet and disciplined capital management remains a positive. Following its strong third-quarter 2017 results, it raised its 2017  earnings  guidance. Although its shares have underperformed the industry in a year's time, its strong fundamentals are likely to help the stock gain momentum going forward. However, the company's individual commercial business has remained a drag over past few years. Rising level of expenses also continues to weigh on the bottom line. The company will release its fourth-quarter and full year 2017 results on Feb 7, 2018 before the market opens.”

HUM has been the topic of several other reports. Credit Suisse Group reduced their target price on Humana from $256.00 to $246.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, November 10th. ValuEngine cut Humana from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 10th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $257.00 target price on shares of Humana in a report on Friday, October 13th. BMO Capital Markets lifted their target price on Humana from $290.00 to $300.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, November 10th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a “sector perform” rating and issued a $242.00 target price (down from $245.00) on shares of Humana in a report on Thursday, November 9th. Nine research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. Humana presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $260.10.

Humana (NYSE HUM) opened at $268.02 on Monday. Humana has a 52-week low of $186.25 and a 52-week high of $271.99. The company has a market capitalization of $38,289.36, a PE ratio of 21.09, a PEG ratio of 1.70 and a beta of 0.88. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35, a current ratio of 1.61 and a quick ratio of 1.61.

Humana (NYSE:HUM) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The insurance provider reported $3.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $3.27 by $0.12. Humana had a return on equity of 15.99% and a net margin of 3.49%. The firm had revenue of $13.28 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $13.41 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $3.18 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was down 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts predict that Humana will post 11.63 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Humana declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback plan on Thursday, December 14th that allows the company to buyback $3.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the insurance provider to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Humana news, SVP Brian P. Leclaire sold 1,679 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $245.97, for a total transaction of $412,983.63. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 9,888 shares in the company, valued at $2,432,151.36. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, SVP Jody L. Bilney sold 7,054 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $247.89, for a total value of $1,748,616.06. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 11,704 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,901,304.56. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 10,115 shares of company stock valued at $2,501,627 in the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.80% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Humana by 1.6% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 9,892,635 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $2,380,366,000 after buying an additional 157,868 shares during the period. FMR LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Humana by 29.3% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 6,530,063 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,571,264,000 after purchasing an additional 1,479,210 shares during the period. Capital Research Global Investors boosted its holdings in shares of Humana by 9.7% in the second quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 3,907,333 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $940,182,000 after purchasing an additional 346,069 shares during the period. Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Humana by 1.5% in the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 2,731,100 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $657,157,000 after purchasing an additional 39,400 shares during the period. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its holdings in shares of Humana by 74.1% in the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 2,729,248 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $664,921,000 after purchasing an additional 1,161,661 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 94.01% of the company’s stock.

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Humana Company Profile

Humana Inc is a health and well-being company. The Company’s segments include Retail, Group and Specialty, Healthcare Services and Individual Commercial. The Retail segment consists of Medicare benefits, as well as individual commercial fully insured medical and specialty health insurance benefits, including dental, vision, and other supplemental health and financial protection products.

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