Investors Buy Express Scripts (ESRX) on Weakness

Traders purchased shares of Express Scripts Holding (NASDAQ:ESRX) on weakness during trading hours on Tuesday. $113.71 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $41.79 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $71.92 million into the stock. Of all equities tracked, Express Scripts had the 25th highest net in-flow for the day. Express Scripts traded down ($0.46) for the day and closed at $80.41

A number of research analysts recently commented on the stock. Robert W. Baird reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $92.00 price objective (up previously from $81.00) on shares of Express Scripts in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. SunTrust Banks reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Express Scripts in a research note on Friday, January 12th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Express Scripts from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Needham & Company LLC reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Express Scripts in a research note on Thursday, December 21st. Finally, Evercore ISI assumed coverage on shares of Express Scripts in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. They set an “in-line” rating and a $78.00 price objective on the stock. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $77.09.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.86, a current ratio of 0.73 and a quick ratio of 0.61. The firm has a market cap of $45,542.05, a PE ratio of 13.31, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.89 and a beta of 0.87.

Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 24th. The company reported $1.90 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $1.90. Express Scripts had a net margin of 3.64% and a return on equity of 25.46%. The firm had revenue of $24.68 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $25.68 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.74 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 2.9% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts forecast that Express Scripts Holding will post 7.04 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Express Scripts declared that its board has authorized a stock repurchase program on Monday, December 18th that permits the company to buyback 45,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, CEO Timothy C. Wentworth acquired 8,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 31st. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $61.13 per share, for a total transaction of $489,040.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 98,628 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,029,129.64. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Phyllis S. Anderson sold 643 shares of Express Scripts stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.37, for a total transaction of $40,103.91. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 17,644 shares of company stock worth $1,289,609. Corporate insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of ESRX. Heartland Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Express Scripts by 16.1% during the 2nd quarter. Heartland Advisors Inc. now owns 158,168 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,097,000 after buying an additional 21,956 shares during the period. Pacad Investment Ltd. boosted its stake in shares of Express Scripts by 535.4% during the 2nd quarter. Pacad Investment Ltd. now owns 74,720 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,770,000 after buying an additional 62,960 shares during the period. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. boosted its stake in shares of Express Scripts by 34.9% during the 2nd quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 6,759 shares of the company’s stock valued at $431,000 after buying an additional 1,750 shares during the period. Swiss National Bank boosted its stake in shares of Express Scripts by 1.2% during the 2nd quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 2,211,798 shares of the company’s stock valued at $141,201,000 after buying an additional 26,900 shares during the period. Finally, Hikari Power Ltd acquired a new stake in shares of Express Scripts during the 2nd quarter valued at $4,894,000. 88.21% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About Express Scripts

Express Scripts, Inc is a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company in North America, offering a range of services to its clients, which include health insurers, third-party administrators, employers, union-sponsored benefit plans, workers’ compensation plans and government health programs. It operates in two segments: PBM and Emerging Markets (EM).

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