Zacks Investment Research Lowers UnitedHealth Group (UNH) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Saturday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “UnitedHealth's solid balance sheet, strong operating performance, favorable business profile and disciplined enterprise risk management are commendable. The company also benefits from the services, technology and innovations offered by its segment Optum. However, slowdowns of growth in international operations, underperformance in Medicaid business, and increase in leverage and interest burden are some headwinds. The stock has underperformed its industry year to date. Also slowdown of growth in international operations, underperformance in Medicaid business, and increase in leverage and interest burden are some headwinds.”

Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a buy rating and set a $310.00 price objective on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Tuesday, January 15th. Credit Suisse Group restated a buy rating and set a $310.00 price objective on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Friday, February 8th. Cleveland Research reiterated a buy rating on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Friday, January 11th. Bank of America reiterated a buy rating and set a $290.00 price target (down previously from $320.00) on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a report on Wednesday, April 17th. Finally, SunTrust Banks decreased their price target on UnitedHealth Group to $300.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, April 17th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating, eighteen have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. UnitedHealth Group currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $290.47.



NYSE UNH opened at $236.43 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $226.15 billion, a PE ratio of 18.36, a PEG ratio of 1.27 and a beta of 0.74. UnitedHealth Group has a 52 week low of $208.07 and a 52 week high of $287.94. The company has a quick ratio of 0.73, a current ratio of 0.73 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 16th. The healthcare conglomerate reported $3.73 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $3.60 by $0.13. The firm had revenue of $60.30 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $59.72 billion. UnitedHealth Group had a return on equity of 25.07% and a net margin of 5.45%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 9.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $3.04 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts anticipate that UnitedHealth Group will post 14.7 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other UnitedHealth Group news, Director William C. Ballard, Jr. sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, May 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $239.02, for a total value of $1,195,100.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 77,993 shares in the company, valued at approximately $18,641,886.86. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO David S. Wichmann acquired 20,000 shares of UnitedHealth Group stock in a transaction on Friday, May 3rd. The stock was acquired at an average price of $231.79 per share, with a total value of $4,635,800.00. Following the purchase, the chief executive officer now directly owns 904,367 shares in the company, valued at $209,623,226.93. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 27,930 shares of company stock valued at $6,746,683 in the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 0.87% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Crewe Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of UnitedHealth Group during the 4th quarter valued at $25,000. Harvest Group Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of UnitedHealth Group during the 1st quarter valued at $31,000. Pearl River Capital LLC purchased a new position in shares of UnitedHealth Group during the 4th quarter valued at $35,000. Canton Hathaway LLC purchased a new position in shares of UnitedHealth Group during the 1st quarter valued at $36,000. Finally, Ipswich Investment Management Co. Inc. purchased a new position in shares of UnitedHealth Group during the 4th quarter valued at $40,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 87.49% of the company’s stock.

UnitedHealth Group Company Profile

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates as a diversified health care company in the United States. It operates through four segments: UnitedHealthcare, OptumHealth, OptumInsight, and OptumRx. The UnitedHealthcare segment offers consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services for national employers, public sector employers, mid-sized employers, small businesses, and individuals; health and well-being services to individuals age 50 and older, addressing their needs for preventive and acute health care services, as well as services dealing with chronic disease and other specialized issues for older individuals; and Medicaid plans, Children's Health Insurance Program, and health care programs; and health and dental benefits.

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