Anthem, Inc. (ANTM) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Anthem, Inc. (NYSE:ANTM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Thursday morning. They currently have $212.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Anthem’s shares have outperformed the industry in last one year. The company’s diverse product portfolio has helped in improving underwriting results. Anthem’s strategic acquisitions, divestitures and ACO arrangements further pave the way for long-term growth. Its rising level of medical membership continues to boost the top line. The company’s strong capital position backs effective capital deployment. Its frequent share buyback programs and regular dividend payments primarily aim at enhancing shareholders’ value. The company has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2017 and 2018 earnings being revised upward over the last 60 days. Followed by strong results in first half of 2017, the company has raised the earnings and revenue guidance for 2017.”

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on the stock. BidaskClub raised shares of Anthem from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 6th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $204.00 target price on shares of Anthem in a research report on Sunday, August 20th. Morgan Stanley raised their target price on shares of Anthem from $196.00 to $201.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research report on Thursday, August 17th. Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed an overweight rating and set a $215.00 target price (up from $210.00) on shares of Anthem in a research report on Wednesday, July 26th. Finally, Bank of America Corporation raised their target price on shares of Anthem from $224.00 to $228.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, July 14th. Ten investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $183.44.

Shares of Anthem (NYSE ANTM) opened at 186.59 on Thursday. Anthem has a 52-week low of $114.85 and a 52-week high of $198.98. The company has a market capitalization of $49.00 billion, a PE ratio of 17.64 and a beta of 0.70. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $191.81 and its 200 day moving average price is $181.77.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The company reported $3.37 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $3.23 by $0.14. The business had revenue of $22.20 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $22.25 billion. Anthem had a net margin of 3.24% and a return on equity of 12.93%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company posted $3.33 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that Anthem will post $11.83 earnings per share for the current year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 25th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 8th will be paid a $0.70 dividend. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.50%. This is an increase from Anthem’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.65. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 7th. Anthem’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 26.52%.

In other Anthem news, Director Julie A. Hill sold 524 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $190.80, for a total value of $99,979.20. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 36,924 shares in the company, valued at $7,045,099.20. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Thomas C. Zielinski sold 9,127 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $191.25, for a total transaction of $1,745,538.75. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 26,571 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,081,703.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 30,776 shares of company stock valued at $6,007,143. 0.36% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. USA Financial Portformulas Corp acquired a new stake in shares of Anthem during the second quarter worth $3,724,000. Toronto Dominion Bank lifted its stake in shares of Anthem by 23.2% during the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 95,759 shares of the company’s stock worth $18,013,000 after buying an additional 18,034 shares during the period. Advisory Services Network LLC lifted its stake in shares of Anthem by 85.0% during the second quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 5,122 shares of the company’s stock worth $964,000 after buying an additional 2,354 shares during the period. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd acquired a new stake in shares of Anthem during the second quarter worth $744,000. Finally, Gofen & Glossberg LLC IL lifted its stake in shares of Anthem by 0.6% during the second quarter. Gofen & Glossberg LLC IL now owns 2,540 shares of the company’s stock worth $478,000 after buying an additional 15 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 87.69% of the company’s stock.

About Anthem

Anthem, Inc is a health benefits company. The Company operates through three segments: Commercial and Specialty Business, Government Business and Other. It offers a spectrum of network-based managed care plans to large and small employer, individual, Medicaid and Medicare markets. Its managed care plans include preferred provider organizations; health maintenance organizations; point-of-service plans; indemnity plans and other hybrid plans, including consumer-driven health plans; and hospital only and limited benefit products.

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