Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Aetna (AET) to “Buy”

Aetna (NYSE:AET) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday. The brokerage presently has a $228.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 11.60% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Aetna have outperformed the industry's growth in six months. Moreover, it has witnessed its 2018 earnings move upward over the past seven days. The recent sale of its U.S. Group Life and Disability business will enable the company to focus on its core growth areas. It is on track to be acquired by CVS Health and has announced that it will sell Medicare Part D business. The DoJ's approval takes the deal toward closure, which is scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2018. Its revenues suffered a decline in 2017, improved in the first nine months of 2018 but should remain subdued in the coming quarters. Declining membership and rising expenses are some other concerns.”

A number of other research firms have also commented on AET. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price target on shares of Aetna from $202.00 to $207.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, October 22nd. Citigroup lifted their price target on shares of Aetna from $202.00 to $206.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 31st. Cantor Fitzgerald lowered shares of Aetna from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $202.00 price target on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, August 22nd. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies lowered shares of Aetna from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and dropped their price target for the company from $212.00 to $206.00 in a research report on Tuesday, October 30th. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $204.55.

Shares of AET opened at $204.30 on Wednesday. The company has a market cap of $66.79 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.72, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.72 and a beta of 0.71. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42, a quick ratio of 0.79 and a current ratio of 0.79. Aetna has a twelve month low of $166.88 and a twelve month high of $210.90.

Aetna (NYSE:AET) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 30th. The company reported $2.96 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.83 by $0.13. The firm had revenue of $15.48 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $15.40 billion. Aetna had a net margin of 5.99% and a return on equity of 20.78%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $2.45 earnings per share. Analysts predict that Aetna will post 11.38 earnings per share for the current year.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of AET. Intellectus Partners LLC boosted its stake in Aetna by 1,290.5% during the third quarter. Intellectus Partners LLC now owns 584 shares of the company’s stock worth $118,000 after buying an additional 542 shares in the last quarter. Palo Capital Inc. acquired a new stake in Aetna during the third quarter worth $122,000. Honkamp Krueger Financial Services Inc. acquired a new stake in Aetna during the third quarter worth $122,000. Kaizen Advisory LLC boosted its stake in Aetna by 143.9% during the second quarter. Kaizen Advisory LLC now owns 766 shares of the company’s stock worth $141,000 after buying an additional 452 shares in the last quarter. Finally, CSat Investment Advisory L.P. acquired a new stake in Aetna during the second quarter worth $162,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 82.34% of the company’s stock.

About Aetna

Aetna Inc operates as a health care benefits company in the United States. It operates through three segments: Health Care, Group Insurance, and Large Case Pensions. The Health Care segment offers medical, pharmacy benefit management service, dental, behavioral health, and vision plans on an insured and employer-funded basis.

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