Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) shares gapped up prior to trading on Thursday after Robert W. Baird upgraded the stock from a neutral rating to an outperform rating. The stock had previously closed at $67.14, but opened at $68.57. Robert W. Baird now has a $81.00 price target on the stock, up from their previous price target of $72.00. Express Scripts shares last traded at $69.02, with a volume of 6154635 shares.

ESRX has been the subject of a number of other research reports. SunTrust Banks set a $82.00 price target on shares of Express Scripts and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Express Scripts in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Express Scripts from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 price target for the company in a report on Monday, October 16th. Sanford C. Bernstein raised shares of Express Scripts from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Wednesday, December 6th. Finally, BidaskClub raised shares of Express Scripts from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $73.77.

In related news, VP Phyllis S. Anderson sold 643 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.37, for a total transaction of $40,103.91. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Timothy C. Wentworth purchased 8,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 31st. The shares were purchased at an average price of $61.13 per share, for a total transaction of $489,040.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 98,628 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,029,129.64. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Company insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Dodge & Cox grew its position in Express Scripts by 25.7% during the second quarter. Dodge & Cox now owns 36,188,517 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,310,275,000 after buying an additional 7,388,021 shares during the period. Macquarie Group Ltd. grew its position in Express Scripts by 8.4% during the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 11,880,919 shares of the company’s stock valued at $758,480,000 after buying an additional 922,406 shares during the period. Northern Trust Corp grew its position in Express Scripts by 12.2% during the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 11,068,777 shares of the company’s stock valued at $706,629,000 after buying an additional 1,206,980 shares during the period. Veritas Asset Management LLP grew its position in Express Scripts by 5.6% during the third quarter. Veritas Asset Management LLP now owns 8,652,910 shares of the company’s stock valued at $547,902,000 after buying an additional 460,338 shares during the period. Finally, Nordea Investment Management AB grew its position in Express Scripts by 2.6% during the third quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 7,304,973 shares of the company’s stock valued at $462,551,000 after buying an additional 188,528 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 88.44% of the company’s stock.

The stock has a market cap of $39,090.00, a PE ratio of 10.02, a P/E/G ratio of 1.01 and a beta of 0.88. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.86, a quick ratio of 0.61 and a current ratio of 0.73.

Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The company reported $1.90 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.90. Express Scripts had a net margin of 3.64% and a return on equity of 25.46%. The business had revenue of $24.68 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $25.68 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.74 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.9% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts expect that Express Scripts Holding Company will post 7.01 earnings per share for the current year.

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About Express Scripts

Express Scripts, Inc is a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company in North America, offering a range of services to its clients, which include health insurers, third-party administrators, employers, union-sponsored benefit plans, workers’ compensation plans and government health programs. It operates in two segments: PBM and Emerging Markets (EM).

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