Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $289.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Anthem’s earnings of $4.64 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.7% and improved 9.2% year over year on higher revenues. Its shares have outperformed its industry in a year's time. Its prudent acquisitions and collaborations complement its organic growth and helps it boost Medicare Advantage growth. The company's growing top line paves the way for long-term growth. A diverse product portfolio also helped it enhance its revenues. Its strong capital position backs effective capital deployment via share buybacks and regular dividends. A strong outlook for 2019 and growing membership instills investor's confidence. However, it has been suffering from high benefit costs and selling, general and administrative expense, which continues to weigh on its bottom line. Rising level of debt is another concern.”

Several other equities research analysts have also weighed in on ANTM. Barclays raised their target price on Anthem from $316.00 to $317.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Thursday, April 25th. UBS Group started coverage on Anthem in a research report on Tuesday, April 23rd. They set a buy rating and a $294.00 price target on the stock. Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of Anthem in a research report on Friday, July 26th. Citigroup raised Anthem from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $325.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Friday, May 10th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $360.00 price target on shares of Anthem in a research report on Sunday, April 21st. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $325.40.

Shares of NYSE ANTM opened at $267.88 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a quick ratio of 1.64 and a current ratio of 1.64. Anthem has a fifty-two week low of $227.16 and a fifty-two week high of $317.99. The firm has a market capitalization of $70.49 billion, a PE ratio of 16.86, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.02 and a beta of 0.71. The stock’s 50-day simple moving average is $291.13 and its 200-day simple moving average is $286.22.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 24th. The company reported $4.64 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $4.61 by $0.03. Anthem had a return on equity of 15.02% and a net margin of 4.21%. The business had revenue of $25.20 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $24.88 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $4.25 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 10.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, sell-side analysts forecast that Anthem will post 19.35 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, September 25th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 10th will be given a dividend of $0.80 per share. This represents a $3.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.19%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 9th. Anthem’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 20.14%.

In other news, Director Robert L. Dixon, Jr. sold 520 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $294.11, for a total value of $152,937.20. Following the transaction, the director now owns 9,971 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,932,570.81. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, SVP Ronald W. Penczek sold 763 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $279.00, for a total value of $212,877.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 2,295 shares in the company, valued at approximately $640,305. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 10,109 shares of company stock worth $2,871,692. 0.17% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ANTM. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC increased its holdings in shares of Anthem by 101.2% in the second quarter. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC now owns 3,821,672 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,078,514,000 after purchasing an additional 1,921,814 shares during the period. Nuveen Asset Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Anthem by 5,130.7% in the second quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 1,531,222 shares of the company’s stock valued at $432,125,000 after purchasing an additional 1,501,948 shares during the period. Egerton Capital UK LLP increased its holdings in shares of Anthem by 176.8% in the first quarter. Egerton Capital UK LLP now owns 694,185 shares of the company’s stock valued at $199,217,000 after purchasing an additional 443,428 shares during the period. Prudential PLC increased its holdings in shares of Anthem by 108.1% in the second quarter. Prudential PLC now owns 821,298 shares of the company’s stock valued at $231,673,000 after purchasing an additional 426,668 shares during the period. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased its holdings in shares of Anthem by 47.2% in the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,182,408 shares of the company’s stock valued at $333,685,000 after purchasing an additional 378,897 shares during the period. 87.69% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Anthem

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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