Humana (HUM) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Humana (NYSE:HUM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Monday morning. They currently have $297.00 price objective on the insurance provider’s stock.

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.”

Other equities analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Credit Suisse Group began coverage on shares of Humana in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. They set a neutral rating and a $256.00 target price on the stock. ValuEngine lowered shares of Humana from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, December 19th. Morgan Stanley cut their price objective on shares of Humana from $276.00 to $270.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, November 9th. Cowen reiterated a buy rating and issued a $285.00 price objective on shares of Humana in a report on Wednesday, December 13th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group assumed coverage on shares of Humana in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. They issued a buy rating and a $305.00 price objective on the stock. Ten analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $260.10.

Humana (NYSE:HUM) traded up $3.69 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $279.44. 1,310,500 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,212,433. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35, a current ratio of 1.61 and a quick ratio of 1.61. The firm has a market cap of $39,920.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.00, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.73 and a beta of 0.88. Humana has a 1-year low of $186.25 and a 1-year high of $280.00.

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

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 26th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 29th will be given a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.57%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 28th. Humana’s payout ratio is currently 12.60%.

Humana announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Thursday, December 14th that authorizes the company to repurchase $3.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the insurance provider to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, VP Timothy S. Huval sold 1,382 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $246.04, for a total transaction of $340,027.28. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 11,557 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,843,484.28. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, SVP Brian P. Leclaire sold 1,679 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $245.97, for a total transaction of $412,983.63. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 9,888 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,432,151.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 10,115 shares of company stock valued at $2,501,627 in the last three months. Insiders own 0.80% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. State of Alaska Department of Revenue grew its position in shares of Humana by 102.8% during the 4th quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 28,552 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $7,080,000 after buying an additional 14,470 shares during the last quarter. Oakbrook Investments LLC grew its position in shares of Humana by 120.2% during the 4th quarter. Oakbrook Investments LLC now owns 13,760 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $3,413,000 after buying an additional 7,510 shares during the last quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC grew its position in Humana by 3.0% in the 4th quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 1,043,303 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $258,809,000 after purchasing an additional 30,812 shares during the last quarter. Creative Planning grew its position in Humana by 20.0% in the 4th quarter. Creative Planning now owns 5,864 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,455,000 after purchasing an additional 977 shares during the last quarter. Finally, National Pension Service grew its position in Humana by 0.5% in the 4th quarter. National Pension Service now owns 138,188 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $34,280,000 after purchasing an additional 658 shares during the last quarter. 94.01% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Humana

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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