UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “UnitedHealth issued optimistic guidance for 2017, backed by stable medical costs, higher contribution from Optum and decline in exposure from its public exchange business. The company is consistently gaining from the Medicaid and Medicare businesses. Continued growth at Optum is also leading to a diversified revenue source. The segment should see further growth from the Catamaran acquisition. Also, UnitedHealth should benefit from its capital strength and niche market position. Regular share buyback and dividend increase are other positives. But industry fees and taxes, losses on public exchange business and higher operating costs are some headwinds.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on UNH. Mizuho downgraded UnitedHealth Group from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 9th. Leerink Swann restated an “outperform” rating on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research note on Sunday, August 21st. Sanford C. Bernstein restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $178.00 target price on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research note on Tuesday, September 6th. Vetr upgraded UnitedHealth Group from a “buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, October 7th. Finally, Jefferies Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $163.00 target price on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research note on Tuesday, October 4th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-one have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $158.03.

Analyst Recommendations for UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH)

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) traded up 3.593% during trading on Tuesday, reaching $157.575. The company had a trading volume of 1,437,721 shares. The company has a 50-day moving average of $143.81 and a 200-day moving average of $139.88. UnitedHealth Group has a 52-week low of $107.51 and a 52-week high of $157.70. The firm has a market capitalization of $149.98 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.275 and a beta of 0.63.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 18th. The healthcare conglomerate reported $2.17 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.08 by $0.09. The firm earned $46.30 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $46.09 billion. UnitedHealth Group had a return on equity of 19.92% and a net margin of 3.62%. UnitedHealth Group’s quarterly revenue was up 11.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.77 earnings per share. Analysts expect that UnitedHealth Group will post $8.01 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 13th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 2nd will be paid a dividend of $0.625 per share. This represents a $2.50 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.64%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 30th. UnitedHealth Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 36.93%.

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In other UnitedHealth Group news, Director Richard T. Burke sold 40,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $135.31, for a total transaction of $5,412,400.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 2,003,550 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $271,100,350.50. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Kenneth Irwin Shine sold 325 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, October 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $144.99, for a total transaction of $47,121.75. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 28,613 shares in the company, valued at $4,148,598.87. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.65% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in UnitedHealth Group by 2.0% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 57,213,923 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock valued at $8,078,605,000 after buying an additional 1,123,084 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors boosted its position in UnitedHealth Group by 1.0% in the third quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 41,616,604 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock valued at $5,826,325,000 after buying an additional 401,303 shares in the last quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD boosted its position in UnitedHealth Group by 0.3% in the third quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 33,287,271 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock valued at $4,660,218,000 after buying an additional 108,513 shares in the last quarter. Capital Research Global Investors boosted its position in UnitedHealth Group by 0.5% in the second quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 29,118,588 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock valued at $4,111,545,000 after buying an additional 147,410 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its position in UnitedHealth Group by 2.3% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 26,506,549 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock valued at $3,710,917,000 after buying an additional 600,139 shares in the last quarter. 84.92% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

UnitedHealth Group Company Profile

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is a diversified healthcare company. The Company operates through four segments: UnitedHealthcare, OptumHealth, OptumInsight and OptumRx. The Company conducts its operations through two business platforms: health benefits operating under UnitedHealthcare and health services operating under Optum.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:UNH

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