Humana (HUM) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold

Humana (NYSE:HUM) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Friday.

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 remain major tailwinds. Following its strong third-quarter 2017 results, the company 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. Humana will release its fourth-quarter and full year 2017 results on Feb 7, 2018 before the market opens.”

A number of other equities analysts have also weighed in on the stock. Jefferies Group upgraded shares of Humana from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $221.00 price target on the stock in a report on Friday, January 12th. Goldman Sachs Group started coverage on shares of Humana in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. They issued a “buy” rating and a $305.00 price target on the stock. ValuEngine lowered shares of Humana from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 19th. Cowen reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $285.00 price target on shares of Humana in a report on Wednesday, December 13th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $230.00 price target on shares of Humana in a report on Tuesday, December 5th. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $260.10.

Shares of Humana (NYSE HUM) traded down $0.14 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $279.30. 1,161,206 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,208,492. Humana has a 1 year low of $186.25 and a 1 year high of $280.93. The firm has a market capitalization of $39,920.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.99, a P/E/G ratio of 1.73 and a beta of 0.88. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35, a quick ratio of 1.61 and a current ratio of 1.61.

Humana (NYSE:HUM) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The insurance provider reported $3.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $3.27 by $0.12. Humana had a net margin of 3.49% and a return on equity of 15.99%. The firm had revenue of $13.28 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $13.41 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $3.18 earnings per share. Humana’s revenue was down 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts anticipate that Humana will post 11.63 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Humana declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback plan on Thursday, December 14th that allows the company to repurchase $3.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the insurance provider to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, SVP Brian P. Leclaire sold 1,679 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $245.97, for a total value of $412,983.63. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 9,888 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,432,151.36. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Jody L. Bilney sold 7,054 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, December 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $247.89, for a total transaction of $1,748,616.06. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 11,704 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,901,304.56. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 10,115 shares of company stock worth $2,501,627. Insiders own 0.80% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. WFG Advisors LP increased its stake in Humana by 4.5% during the 2nd quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 469 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $113,000 after buying an additional 20 shares during the period. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC purchased a new stake in Humana during the 3rd quarter worth $115,000. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. increased its stake in Humana by 139.5% during the 2nd quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 558 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $134,000 after buying an additional 325 shares during the period. ClariVest Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in Humana during the 3rd quarter worth $144,000. Finally, Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. increased its stake in Humana by 44.9% during the 4th quarter. Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. now owns 710 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $176,000 after buying an additional 220 shares during the period. 94.01% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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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