Express Scripts (ESRX) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Express Scripts has outperformed the industry in the past year.  The company has been gaining from strong performance by the core PBM unit. Developments in the company’s Inside Rx program also buoy optimism. Further, its recently-acquired eviCore's complementary medical-benefit solutions are likely to build a comprehensive PBM solution worldwide. Introduction of Flex Formulary and myDataSense by the company are positive developments. The company is also getting acquired by Cigna by December 2018. However, Express Scripts currently faces persistent drug pricing issue. Express Scripts announced that its biggest customer and leading health insurer Anthem is not likely to extend the PBM agreement with the company anymore. Furthermore, the company has currently suspended share repurchase program because of the merger agreement with Cigna. Express Scripts has not provided any guidance for 2018.”

A number of other research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Mizuho set a $101.00 price target on shares of Express Scripts and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Monday, November 5th. William Blair cut shares of Express Scripts from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 31st. Cowen reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $88.00 price target on shares of Express Scripts in a research report on Friday, November 2nd. Barclays lifted their price target on shares of Express Scripts from $83.00 to $90.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research report on Thursday, November 1st. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada set a $101.00 price target on shares of Express Scripts and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, November 1st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have given a hold rating, four have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Express Scripts currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $92.14.

ESRX stock traded up $0.46 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $97.39. 95,054 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 4,191,364. The stock has a market cap of $54.37 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.73, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.21 and a beta of 0.88. The company has a quick ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 0.77 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63. Express Scripts has a fifty-two week low of $66.93 and a fifty-two week high of $101.73.

Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 31st. The company reported $2.43 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.42 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $25.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $25.11 billion. Express Scripts had a net margin of 4.83% and a return on equity of 25.43%. Express Scripts’s revenue was up 3.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $2.51 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that Express Scripts will post 9.08 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director Mahon Thomas P. Mac sold 5,234 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $99.50, for a total transaction of $520,783.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.79% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group increased its stake in shares of Express Scripts by 29.7% in the third quarter. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group now owns 529 shares of the company’s stock worth $50,000 after buying an additional 121 shares during the last quarter. American National Registered Investment Advisor Inc. increased its stake in shares of Express Scripts by 6.9% in the third quarter. American National Registered Investment Advisor Inc. now owns 7,825 shares of the company’s stock worth $743,000 after buying an additional 505 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Stockton increased its stake in shares of Express Scripts by 5.2% in the third quarter. Bank of Stockton now owns 11,821 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,123,000 after buying an additional 581 shares during the last quarter. Utah Retirement Systems increased its stake in shares of Express Scripts by 0.6% in the third quarter. Utah Retirement Systems now owns 104,514 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,930,000 after buying an additional 600 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC increased its stake in shares of Express Scripts by 40.1% in the third quarter. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC now owns 2,095 shares of the company’s stock worth $199,000 after buying an additional 600 shares during the last quarter. 84.89% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Express Scripts Company Profile

Express Scripts Holding Company operates as a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company in the United States and Canada. The company's PBM segment offers clinical solutions; and specialized pharmacy care, home delivery and specialty pharmacy, retail network pharmacy administration, benefit design consultation, drug utilization review, drug formulary management, public exchange, administration of group purchasing organization, and digital consumer health and drug information services.

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