Cigna (CI) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Cigna (NYSE:CI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Friday, reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $175.00 price target on the health services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Cigna’s adjusted earnings of $3.9 per share, surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.3%. However, the same was down 5.1% year over year. Cigna’s acquisition of Express Scripts is likely to fuel long-term growth. The company’s expanding international business provides diversification. Its group disability and other businesses is expected to perform well, led by personalized and affordable solutions. Its growing membership has aided revenue growth. Along with top-line growth, Cigna has been able to maintain bottom-line profitability as well. Its strong capital position enables investment in business. However, its shares have underperformed the industry in a year’s time.  An increase in leverage might pose financial risk. Rise in operating expenses may weigh on margins.”

CI has been the topic of a number of other reports. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Cigna from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Thursday, April 25th. Morgan Stanley reduced their price objective on shares of Cigna from $304.00 to $299.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, February 5th. Goldman Sachs Group restated a buy rating on shares of Cigna in a report on Saturday, February 2nd. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a buy rating and issued a $245.00 price objective on shares of Cigna in a report on Sunday, April 21st. Finally, Stephens initiated coverage on shares of Cigna in a report on Monday, January 14th. They issued an overweight rating and a $251.00 price objective on the stock. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $225.85.

Shares of CI stock opened at $157.32 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a current ratio of 0.70 and a quick ratio of 0.65. Cigna has a 52 week low of $141.95 and a 52 week high of $226.60. The company has a market capitalization of $60.12 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.06, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.77 and a beta of 0.69.

Cigna (NYSE:CI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 2nd. The health services provider reported $3.90 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $3.74 by $0.16. Cigna had a net margin of 4.11% and a return on equity of 14.23%. The company had revenue of $33.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $32.79 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $4.11 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 192.9% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Cigna will post 16.53 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, insider Brian C. Evanko purchased 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 11th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $163.40 per share, for a total transaction of $326,800.00. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, Director William D. Zollars sold 272 shares of Cigna stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $168.43, for a total transaction of $45,812.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.80% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in Cigna by 1.5% in the first quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 340,670 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $54,786,000 after purchasing an additional 4,944 shares during the period. Neuberger Berman Group LLC increased its stake in Cigna by 11.0% in the first quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 2,324,851 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $373,853,000 after purchasing an additional 230,636 shares during the period. Duality Advisers LP increased its stake in Cigna by 5.2% in the first quarter. Duality Advisers LP now owns 61,010 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $9,812,000 after purchasing an additional 2,990 shares during the period. Simmons Bank increased its stake in Cigna by 5.9% in the first quarter. Simmons Bank now owns 2,338 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $376,000 after purchasing an additional 130 shares during the period. Finally, Teza Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Cigna in the first quarter valued at $240,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 88.61% of the company’s stock.

Cigna Company Profile

Cigna Corporation, a health service organization, provides insurance and related products and services in the United States and internationally. It operates through Integrated Medical, Health Services, International Markets, and Group Disability and Other segments. The Integrated Medical segment offers medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health and vision, health advocacy programs, and other products and services to insured and self-insured clients; Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D plans to Medicare-eligible beneficiaries, as well as Medicaid plans; and health insurance coverage to individual customers on and off the public exchanges.

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