Anthem (ANTM) Upgraded to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Friday. The firm currently has a $333.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 10.08% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Anthem’s fourth-quarter 2018 earnings of $2.44 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 10.9%. The bottom line soared 89.1% year over year, driven by a solid operating performance and contribution across all core businesses. Its shares have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. The company's prudent acquisitions and an improving top line pave the way for long-term growth. A diverse product portfolio has also helped the company enhance its underwriting results. Anthem’s strong capital position backs effective capital deployment via share buybacks and regular dividends. However, its declining membership persistently bothers. Also, the company has been suffering from high benefit costs and selling, general and administrative expense.”

Several other research firms also recently weighed in on ANTM. SunTrust Banks lifted their target price on Anthem to $315.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 1st. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Anthem from $368.00 to $372.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 1st. ValuEngine upgraded Anthem from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday. Evercore ISI upgraded Anthem from an “in-line” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $255.02 price target on the stock in a research note on Thursday, January 3rd. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada raised their price target on Anthem to $318.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 1st. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Anthem presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $326.50.

Shares of ANTM opened at $302.51 on Friday. Anthem has a 52-week low of $215.52 and a 52-week high of $305.99. The firm has a market capitalization of $76.96 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.04, a P/E/G ratio of 1.30 and a beta of 0.91. The company has a quick ratio of 1.54, a current ratio of 1.53 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.59.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, January 30th. The company reported $2.44 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.20 by $0.24. Anthem had a return on equity of 14.85% and a net margin of 4.07%. The business had revenue of $23.30 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $23.27 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.29 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Anthem will post 17.5 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other Anthem news, Director Julie A. Hill sold 500 shares of Anthem stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $287.25, for a total value of $143,625.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 34,327 shares in the company, valued at $9,860,430.75. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Thomas C. Zielinski sold 7,826 shares of Anthem stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $289.71, for a total value of $2,267,270.46. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 29,466 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,536,594.86. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 23,526 shares of company stock worth $6,473,485 in the last quarter. 0.31% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Iridian Asset Management LLC CT grew its stake in shares of Anthem by 129.1% during the third quarter. Iridian Asset Management LLC CT now owns 1,569,169 shares of the company’s stock worth $430,031,000 after acquiring an additional 884,335 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in shares of Anthem by 2.9% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 18,729,474 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,132,811,000 after acquiring an additional 532,579 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc grew its stake in shares of Anthem by 2.9% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 18,729,474 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,132,811,000 after acquiring an additional 532,579 shares during the last quarter. Morgan Stanley grew its stake in shares of Anthem by 65.9% during the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 676,812 shares of the company’s stock worth $185,481,000 after acquiring an additional 268,900 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Jennison Associates LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Anthem during the third quarter worth about $51,834,000. Institutional investors own 86.82% of the company’s stock.

Anthem Company Profile

Anthem, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates as a health benefits company in the United States. It operates through three segments: Commercial & Specialty Business, Government Business, and Other. The company offers a spectrum of network-based managed care health benefit plans to large and small group, individual, Medicaid, and Medicare markets.

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