Aetna Inc. (AET) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research
Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday.
According to Zacks, “Aetna’s shares outperformed the industry year to date. We expect the company to derive long-term growth from its Government business. Cost-reduction initiatives and growing ACO collaborations pave the way for long-term growth. A strong balance sheet is another positive. Its International expansion is also perceived as an opportunity in the face of increased regulation in the U.S. Following strong second-quarter results, Aetna rasied its earnings guidance which cements investors' confidence in the company. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised 6.1% upward over the last 60 days.”
Several other equities analysts have also recently commented on AET. Argus restated a “buy” rating and set a $185.00 target price (up from $165.00) on shares of Aetna in a research report on Tuesday, September 12th. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Aetna from $172.00 to $179.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Thursday, August 17th. Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and issued a $175.00 price target (up previously from $150.00) on shares of Aetna in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. Deutsche Bank AG lifted their price target on Aetna from $157.00 to $163.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 7th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $163.00 price target (up previously from $157.00) on shares of Aetna in a research report on Friday, August 4th. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $160.77.
Aetna (NYSE:AET) traded up 1.46% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $162.79. 922,353 shares of the company traded hands. Aetna has a one year low of $104.59 and a one year high of $164.52. The firm has a market capitalization of $54.06 billion, a P/E ratio of 36.14 and a beta of 0.53. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $157.51 and a 200 day moving average of $147.21.
Aetna (NYSE:AET) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The company reported $3.42 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.34 by $1.08. Aetna had a net margin of 2.52% and a return on equity of 20.52%. The firm had revenue of $15.52 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $15.34 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $2.21 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 2.7% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Aetna will post $9.55 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
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In other Aetna news, EVP Margaret M. Mccarthy sold 10,288 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $162.85, for a total value of $1,675,400.80. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 33,563 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,465,734.55. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, President Karen S. Lynch sold 15,271 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $161.91, for a total transaction of $2,472,527.61. Following the completion of the transaction, the president now owns 64,261 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,404,498.51. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.14% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of AET. Curbstone Financial Management Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Aetna by 85.9% during the third quarter. Curbstone Financial Management Corp now owns 9,900 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,574,000 after purchasing an additional 4,575 shares during the period. Ardsley Advisory Partners grew its stake in shares of Aetna by 20.0% in the second quarter. Ardsley Advisory Partners now owns 6,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $911,000 after purchasing an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP bought a new stake in shares of Aetna in the second quarter worth about $7,592,000. Achmea Investment Management B.V. grew its stake in shares of Aetna by 5.3% in the second quarter. Achmea Investment Management B.V. now owns 33,669 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,110,000 after purchasing an additional 1,705 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Lord Abbett & CO. LLC grew its stake in shares of Aetna by 0.9% in the second quarter. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC now owns 526,085 shares of the company’s stock worth $79,875,000 after purchasing an additional 4,619 shares during the last quarter. 89.52% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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.
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