Shares of Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) have been given a consensus rating of “Buy” by the twenty-four ratings firms that are covering the stock, MarketBeat.com reports. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The average 12-month target price among brokers that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $159.43.

AET has been the subject of a number of research reports. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $145.00 price target on shares of Aetna in a report on Monday, April 24th. Bank of America Corporation reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $168.00 price target (up previously from $160.00) on shares of Aetna in a report on Wednesday, May 17th. Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on Aetna in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $162.00 price target for the company. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $163.00 price target (up previously from $157.00) on shares of Aetna in a report on Friday, August 4th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Aetna from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $170.00 price target for the company in a report on Tuesday, July 4th.

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In other news, EVP Margaret M. Mccarthy sold 27,028 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, June 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $149.23, for a total transaction of $4,033,388.44. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 33,563 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,008,606.49. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 1.14% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of AET. Parametrica Management Ltd acquired a new position in shares of Aetna during the first quarter worth about $212,000. Fox Run Management L.L.C. increased its position in shares of Aetna by 31.8% in the first quarter. Fox Run Management L.L.C. now owns 2,900 shares of the company’s stock worth $370,000 after buying an additional 700 shares during the last quarter. Telemus Capital LLC increased its position in shares of Aetna by 11.8% in the first quarter. Telemus Capital LLC now owns 7,739 shares of the company’s stock worth $987,000 after buying an additional 817 shares during the last quarter. DnB Asset Management AS increased its position in shares of Aetna by 20.8% in the first quarter. DnB Asset Management AS now owns 118,671 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,136,000 after buying an additional 20,400 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Benin Management CORP acquired a new position in shares of Aetna during the first quarter worth about $250,000. 91.69% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Aetna (NYSE:AET) opened at 154.45 on Friday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $154.81 and a 200 day moving average price of $140.38. Aetna has a 52-week low of $104.59 and a 52-week high of $161.69. The stock has a market cap of $51.29 billion, a PE ratio of 34.28 and a beta of 0.54.

Aetna (NYSE:AET) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The company reported $3.42 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.34 by $1.08. Aetna had a return on equity of 20.52% and a net margin of 2.52%. The business had revenue of $15.52 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $15.34 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $2.21 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that Aetna will post $9.55 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

About Aetna

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Aetna (NYSE:AET)

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