Zacks Investment Research Lowers UnitedHealth Group (UNH) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of UnitedHealth Group have outperformed the industry year to date.The company's robust Government business and continued strong performance at Optum are driving long-term growth. Its international business and strong capital position driving business investment are the other positives. The company has been witnessing an increase in membership over the past many years. It again lifted its 2018 earnings guidance, buoying optimism among investors in the stock. However, membership loss in its fee-based commercial as well as Brazilian businesses will contract the overall membership growth for UnitedHealth Group. Additionally, higher medical care ratio raises concern.”

Several other analysts also recently commented on UNH. Barclays initiated coverage on UnitedHealth Group in a research note on Thursday, March 8th. They issued an overweight rating and a $265.00 target price for the company. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a buy rating and issued a $280.00 target price on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research note on Thursday, March 8th. Credit Suisse Group restated a buy rating on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research note on Friday, March 9th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised their target price on UnitedHealth Group to $266.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 18th. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their target price on UnitedHealth Group from $275.00 to $277.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 18th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $254.66.

Shares of UNH opened at $244.95 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56, a current ratio of 0.71 and a quick ratio of 0.71. The stock has a market capitalization of $233.26 billion, a PE ratio of 24.32, a PEG ratio of 1.40 and a beta of 0.75. UnitedHealth Group has a one year low of $174.92 and a one year high of $250.79.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, April 17th. The healthcare conglomerate reported $3.04 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.91 by $0.13. The company had revenue of $55.19 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $54.90 billion. UnitedHealth Group had a return on equity of 22.06% and a net margin of 5.41%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business posted $2.37 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that UnitedHealth Group will post 12.61 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director Richard T. Burke sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $224.36, for a total value of $2,243,600.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 1,771,257 shares in the company, valued at approximately $397,399,220.52. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, insider Larry C. Renfro sold 22,184 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $228.94, for a total value of $5,078,804.96. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 173,229 shares in the company, valued at approximately $39,659,047.26. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 87,019 shares of company stock worth $20,283,033 in the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.87% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. KBC Group NV boosted its stake in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 4.7% in the 3rd quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 323,799 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $63,416,000 after buying an additional 14,672 shares during the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank raised its holdings in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 12.6% in the 4th quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 432,508 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $95,350,000 after purchasing an additional 48,565 shares during the period. GWM Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 20.3% in the 4th quarter. GWM Advisors LLC now owns 9,297 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $2,090,000 after purchasing an additional 1,571 shares during the period. Global Financial Private Capital LLC raised its holdings in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 13.7% in the 4th quarter. Global Financial Private Capital LLC now owns 18,386 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $4,053,000 after purchasing an additional 2,212 shares during the period. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its holdings in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 0.9% in the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 3,175,791 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $621,983,000 after purchasing an additional 29,726 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 85.10% of the company’s stock.

About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates as a diversified health care company in the United States. It operates through four segments: UnitedHealthcare, OptumHealth, OptumInsight, and OptumRx. The UnitedHealthcare segment offers consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services for national employers, public sector employers, mid-sized employers, small businesses, and individuals; health care coverage, and health and well-being services to individuals age 50 and older, addressing their needs for preventive and acute health care services, as well as services dealing with chronic disease and other specialized issues for older individuals; and Medicaid plans, Children's Health Insurance Program, and health care programs; and health and dental benefits.

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