Anthem (ANTM) Cut to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Anthem's shares have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. Its diverse product portfolio has helped in improving underwriting results. Its strategic acquisitions, divestitures and ACO arrangements pave the way for long-term growth. The company’s rising level of medical membership continues to boost the top line. Its strong capital position backs effective capital deployment via share buyback programs and regular dividend payments. Followed by strong third-quarter 2017 results, the company raised earnings guidance for 2017. However, loss incurred on public exchange business continues to bother. Also rising level of debt and expenses keep draining the margins.”

A number of other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Anthem from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. B. Riley restated a buy rating on shares of Anthem in a research report on Wednesday, December 6th. Bank of America upped their price objective on shares of Anthem from $249.00 to $254.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Friday, November 17th. Leerink Swann reiterated an outperform rating on shares of Anthem in a report on Tuesday, November 7th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group assumed coverage on Anthem in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. They set an outperform rating and a $234.00 target price for the company. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Anthem has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $206.60.

Shares of Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) opened at $230.21 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.53, a current ratio of 1.51 and a quick ratio of 1.51. Anthem has a 1 year low of $142.04 and a 1 year high of $236.39. The company has a market cap of $58,836.67, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.81, a P/E/G ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 0.79.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 25th. The company reported $2.65 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.40 by $0.25. Anthem had a net margin of 3.35% and a return on equity of 12.97%. The business had revenue of $22.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $22.10 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $2.45 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts expect that Anthem will post 11.97 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 21st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, December 5th were issued a dividend of $0.70 per share. This represents a $2.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.22%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 4th. Anthem’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 25.32%.

Anthem declared that its board has initiated a share buyback program on Thursday, December 7th that permits the company to buyback $5.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, Chairman Joseph Swedish sold 21,125 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $231.43, for a total value of $4,888,958.75. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 87,668 shares in the company, valued at approximately $20,289,005.24. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Ronald W. Penczek sold 978 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $217.42, for a total value of $212,636.76. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 1,222 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $265,687.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 44,830 shares of company stock valued at $9,880,228 in the last 90 days. 0.36% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in ANTM. C M Bidwell & Associates Ltd. lifted its stake in Anthem by 0.5% in the 2nd quarter. C M Bidwell & Associates Ltd. now owns 1,070 shares of the company’s stock valued at $201,000 after purchasing an additional 5 shares during the last quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. lifted its stake in Anthem by 1.4% in the 2nd quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. now owns 710 shares of the company’s stock valued at $134,000 after purchasing an additional 10 shares during the last quarter. Gofen & Glossberg LLC IL lifted its stake in Anthem by 0.6% in the 2nd quarter. Gofen & Glossberg LLC IL now owns 2,540 shares of the company’s stock valued at $478,000 after purchasing an additional 15 shares during the last quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS lifted its stake in Anthem by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 19,687 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,704,000 after purchasing an additional 76 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bahl & Gaynor Inc. lifted its stake in Anthem by 11.1% in the 2nd quarter. Bahl & Gaynor Inc. now owns 1,451 shares of the company’s stock valued at $209,000 after purchasing an additional 145 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 87.41% of the company’s stock.

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About Anthem

Anthem, Inc is a health benefits company. The Company operates through three segments: Commercial and Specialty Business, Government Business and Other. It offers a spectrum of network-based managed care plans to large and small employer, individual, Medicaid and Medicare markets. Its managed care plans include preferred provider organizations; health maintenance organizations; point-of-service plans; indemnity plans and other hybrid plans, including consumer-driven health plans; and hospital only and limited benefit products.

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