UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH) Raised to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday, August 1st. Zacks Investment Research currently has $215.00 price target on the healthcare conglomerate’s stock.

According to Zacks, “UnitedHealth Group’s robust Government business and continued strong growth at Optum are driving long-term growth. Its international business, growing membership and strong capital position are the other positives. In the most recently reported quarter, the company reported better-than-expected earnings, driven by an increase in revenues and membership. Encouraged by its impressive first-half earnings, the company raised the 2017 guidance, which instilled investors’ confidence in the company. Though its shares have slightly  underperformed ine industry year till date slightly it is not much of a concern for us given the company’s strong business fundamentals and earnings guidance given recently, will add momentum to the company’s shares in the coming quarters.”

UNH has been the subject of several other research reports. Jefferies Group LLC restated a buy rating and issued a $192.00 price objective on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Friday, May 19th. Cantor Fitzgerald restated an overweight rating and issued a $205.00 price objective (up previously from $200.00) on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Saturday, April 22nd. Vetr cut UnitedHealth Group from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $179.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Monday, April 24th. Barclays PLC lifted their price target on UnitedHealth Group from $200.00 to $217.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, Evercore ISI reiterated an outperform rating and set a $185.00 price target on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Wednesday, April 19th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. UnitedHealth Group currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $203.41.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) opened at 190.82 on Tuesday. UnitedHealth Group has a 12 month low of $132.39 and a 12 month high of $196.04. The firm has a market cap of $184.50 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.92 and a beta of 0.64. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $190.49 and a 200 day moving average price of $175.87.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 18th. The healthcare conglomerate reported $2.46 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.38 by $0.08. The company had revenue of $50.05 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $49.97 billion. UnitedHealth Group had a return on equity of 21.52% and a net margin of 4.32%. UnitedHealth Group’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.96 EPS. On average, equities analysts expect that UnitedHealth Group will post $9.87 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 19th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 8th will be issued a dividend of $0.75 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 7th. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.57%. UnitedHealth Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 35.13%.

In other news, Director Gail R. Wilensky sold 5,540 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, June 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $178.74, for a total transaction of $990,219.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 60,516 shares in the company, valued at $10,816,629.84. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director William C. Ballard, Jr. sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $193.98, for a total transaction of $969,900.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 76,058 shares in the company, valued at approximately $14,753,730.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 15,540 shares of company stock valued at $2,873,320 over the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.89% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC boosted its stake in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 1,722.9% in the first quarter. Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC now owns 638 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock valued at $106,000 after buying an additional 603 shares in the last quarter. Blue Chip Partners Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of UnitedHealth Group during the second quarter worth approximately $110,000. Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of UnitedHealth Group during the fourth quarter worth approximately $111,000. Cribstone Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 22.6% in the first quarter. Cribstone Capital Management LLC now owns 678 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $113,000 after buying an additional 125 shares during the period. Finally, Kings Point Capital Management boosted its stake in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 27.9% in the first quarter. Kings Point Capital Management now owns 687 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $113,000 after buying an additional 150 shares during the period. 86.21% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

UnitedHealth Group Company Profile

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is a health and well-being company. The Company operates through four segments: UnitedHealthcare, OptumHealth, OptumInsight and OptumRx. It conducts its operations through two business platforms: health benefits operating under UnitedHealthcare and health services operating under Optum.

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