Cigna (CI) Upgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Cigna (NYSE:CI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Cigna’s shares have underperformed the industry in a year. The company has been witnessing increase in leverage. Suspension of share buyback and huge execution risk related to the recent deal are some of the major concerns. Its Medicare business is also expected to remain under pressure. The company has also received negative rating action from the rating agencies.  However, the company is on track to buy Express Scripts, which should raise its rank in the health insurance industry and equip it better to face stiff competition. Synergies from the acquisition should buoy the company's long-term growth potential. Its robust Global Supplemental business, growing Government business and increasing membership, and strong capital position are the other positives. A strong outlook for 2018 reflects its business strength. Moreover, it has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 earnings being revised upward in the last 30 days.”

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Other equities analysts have also issued reports about the company. ValuEngine raised Cigna from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Sanford C. Bernstein started coverage on Cigna in a report on Tuesday, March 13th. They set a “market perform” rating and a $194.00 target price for the company. Goldman Sachs started coverage on Cigna in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. They set a “neutral” rating and a $247.00 target price for the company. Oppenheimer upped their target price on Cigna to $237.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group lowered their target price on Cigna from $232.00 to $215.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a report on Monday, March 12th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fifteen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $210.37.

Cigna stock traded up $1.86 during midday trading on Monday, hitting $173.51. The stock had a trading volume of 619,797 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,380,956. The company has a quick ratio of 0.37, a current ratio of 0.37 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38. The firm has a market cap of $41,689.56, a P/E ratio of 16.59, a P/E/G ratio of 1.03 and a beta of 0.61. Cigna has a 12 month low of $149.10 and a 12 month high of $227.13.

Cigna (NYSE:CI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The health services provider reported $1.94 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.87 by $0.07. The firm had revenue of $10.53 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.28 billion. Cigna had a return on equity of 18.84% and a net margin of 5.38%. Cigna’s quarterly revenue was up 5.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.87 earnings per share. equities research analysts anticipate that Cigna will post 12.9 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Cigna news, EVP Nicole S. Jones sold 5,856 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $190.68, for a total value of $1,116,622.08. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 36,658 shares in the company, valued at $6,989,947.44. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Christopher J. Hocevar sold 2,759 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, March 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $191.84, for a total value of $529,286.56. Following the sale, the insider now owns 12,784 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,452,482.56. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 57,454 shares of company stock valued at $11,322,513 over the last 90 days. 1.10% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft FI lifted its position in shares of Cigna by 19.5% during the 4th quarter. Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft FI now owns 1,667 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $339,000 after acquiring an additional 272 shares during the last quarter. Bfsg LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Cigna by 23.1% in the fourth quarter. Bfsg LLC now owns 1,642 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $333,000 after purchasing an additional 308 shares in the last quarter. Atria Investments LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Cigna by 9.6% in the fourth quarter. Atria Investments LLC now owns 3,580 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $727,000 after purchasing an additional 314 shares in the last quarter. HPM Partners LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Cigna by 8.1% in the fourth quarter. HPM Partners LLC now owns 4,256 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $864,000 after purchasing an additional 319 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Cigna by 1.3% in the fourth quarter. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. now owns 29,786 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $6,049,000 after purchasing an additional 379 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 88.80% of the company’s stock.

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About Cigna

Cigna Corporation, a health services organization, provides insurance and related products and services in the United States and internationally. It operates through Global Health Care, Global Supplemental Benefits, Group Disability and Life, and Other Operations segments. The Global Health Care segment offers medical, dental, behavioral health, vision, and prescription drug benefit plans, as well as health advocacy programs, and other products and services to insured and self-insured customers.

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