Anthem (ANTM) Upgraded to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Monday morning. They currently have $252.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Anthem's shares have outperformed the industry in the last six months. Its diverse product portfolio has helped in improving underwriting results. Its strategic acquisitions, divestitures and ACO arrangements pave the way for long-term growth. The company’s rising level of medical membership continues to boost the top line. Its strong capital position backs effective capital deployment via share buyback programs and regular dividend payments. The company has seen the Zacks Consensus Estinmate for 2018 earnings being revised upward in the last 60 days. However, loss incurred on public exchange business continues to bother. Also rising level of debt and expenses keep draining the margins. The company will release first quarter 2018 results on Apr 25 before the market opens.”

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ANTM has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Royal Bank of Canada restated a buy rating on shares of Anthem in a report on Thursday, January 4th. ValuEngine upgraded Anthem from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Barclays started coverage on Anthem in a report on Thursday, March 8th. They set an overweight rating and a $270.00 price target on the stock. Credit Suisse Group restated an outperform rating and set a $280.00 price target (up previously from $255.00) on shares of Anthem in a report on Thursday, February 1st. Finally, Jefferies Group upgraded Anthem from a hold rating to a buy rating and reduced their price target for the company from $235.00 to $211.00 in a report on Friday, January 12th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Anthem presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $236.13.

ANTM opened at $222.87 on Monday. The stock has a market capitalization of $57,481.17, a PE ratio of 18.51, a P/E/G ratio of 1.29 and a beta of 0.90. The company has a current ratio of 1.55, a quick ratio of 1.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.66. Anthem has a 12 month low of $164.65 and a 12 month high of $267.95.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 31st. The company reported $1.29 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.25 by $0.04. Anthem had a return on equity of 12.29% and a net margin of 4.27%. The firm had revenue of $22.45 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $22.17 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.76 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. analysts predict that Anthem will post 15.1 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 23rd. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 9th were issued a dividend of $0.75 per share. This is an increase from Anthem’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.70. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 8th. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.35%. Anthem’s dividend payout ratio is 24.92%.

In other Anthem news, insider Joseph Swedish sold 64,403 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, February 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $244.37, for a total transaction of $15,738,161.11. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 84,346 shares in the company, valued at approximately $20,611,632.02. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CFO John E. Gallina sold 24,576 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $229.81, for a total value of $5,647,810.56. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 22,139 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,087,763.59. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 206,746 shares of company stock worth $48,887,779 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.31% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL bought a new stake in shares of Anthem in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $418,000. Stifel Financial Corp boosted its position in shares of Anthem by 4.1% in the 3rd quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 27,350 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,187,000 after purchasing an additional 1,074 shares in the last quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Anthem by 10.9% in the 3rd quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. now owns 3,361 shares of the company’s stock worth $638,000 after purchasing an additional 331 shares in the last quarter. Caxton Associates LP bought a new stake in shares of Anthem in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $589,000. Finally, Laurel Wealth Advisors Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Anthem in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $295,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 88.28% of the company’s stock.

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Anthem Company Profile

Anthem, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates as a health benefits company in the United States. It operates through three segments: Commercial & Specialty Business, Government Business, and Other. The company offers a spectrum of network-based managed care health benefit plans to large and small group, individual, Medicaid, and Medicare markets.

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