Aetna Inc (NYSE:AET) Short Interest Up 41.9% in February

Aetna Inc (NYSE:AET) was the recipient of a large increase in short interest in February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 4,422,017 shares, an increase of 41.9% from the February 15th total of 3,116,854 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 1,927,662 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.3 days. Currently, 1.3% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

Shares of AET traded down $0.33 during trading on Friday, reaching $170.38. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,845,351 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,900,116. The company has a quick ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 0.65 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52. The firm has a market cap of $55,704.55, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.28, a PEG ratio of 1.38 and a beta of 0.67. Aetna has a twelve month low of $127.86 and a twelve month high of $194.40.

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Aetna (NYSE:AET) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, January 30th. The company reported $1.25 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.18 by $0.07. The business had revenue of $14.74 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $14.79 billion. Aetna had a return on equity of 21.50% and a net margin of 3.15%. The business’s revenue was down 6.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.08 EPS. equities analysts expect that Aetna will post 11.01 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 27th. Investors of record on Thursday, April 12th will be given a dividend of $0.50 per share. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.17%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, April 11th. Aetna’s dividend payout ratio is currently 20.28%.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of AET. Focused Wealth Management Inc grew its position in shares of Aetna by 84.5% in the fourth quarter. Focused Wealth Management Inc now owns 655 shares of the company’s stock valued at $118,000 after purchasing an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. Cerebellum GP LLC bought a new stake in shares of Aetna in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $125,000. James Hambro & Partners bought a new stake in shares of Aetna in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $158,000. Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. bought a new stake in shares of Aetna in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $180,000. Finally, Signature Estate & Investment Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Aetna in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $182,000. 87.25% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Several analysts have commented on AET shares. Piper Jaffray restated a “buy” rating and issued a $212.00 price target on shares of Aetna in a report on Tuesday, January 30th. ValuEngine upgraded Aetna from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Credit Suisse Group boosted their target price on Aetna from $200.00 to $208.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 31st. Cowen reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $212.00 target price on shares of Aetna in a report on Tuesday, January 30th. Finally, Citigroup cut Aetna from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $187.89 to $212.00 in a report on Wednesday, January 31st. Nine equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $189.50.

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Aetna Company Profile

Aetna Inc is a diversified healthcare benefits company. The Company operates through three segments: Health Care, Group Insurance and Large Case Pensions. It offers a range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, medical management capabilities, Medicaid healthcare management services, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology (HIT) products and services.

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