Express Scripts (ESRX) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Wednesday morning. They currently have $82.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Over the last year, Express Scripts has outperformed the broader industry in terms of price. The company’s solid guidance for fiscal 2017 holds promise. Express Scripts’ Multiple Sclerosis Care Value Program and SafeGuardRx solutions are likely to expand the customer base. The company recently inked an agreement to acquire eviCore healthcare for $3.6 billion. Express Scripts' pharmacy-benefit management segment (PBM) coupled with eviCore's complementary medical-benefit solutions is likely to build a comprehensive PBM solution worldwide. On the flip side, the company recently announced that its biggest customer and leading health insurer Anthem is not likely to extend its PBM agreement with Express Scripts anymore. Persistent drug pricing issue is also anticipated to affect the stock. Intensifying competition also adds to the woes.”

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. BidaskClub cut shares of Express Scripts from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday. Mizuho set a $67.00 price target on shares of Express Scripts and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 24th. Sanford C. Bernstein cut shares of Express Scripts from a market perform rating to an underperform rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $55.80 to $77.50 in a research note on Tuesday, January 30th. Raymond James Financial reissued a sell rating on shares of Express Scripts in a research note on Friday, December 15th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada raised shares of Express Scripts from a sector perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $68.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, January 31st. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $79.29.

Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) opened at $74.93 on Wednesday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 0.73 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.86. Express Scripts has a 12 month low of $55.80 and a 12 month high of $83.49. The company has a market cap of $41,679.39, a P/E ratio of 12.34, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.79 and a beta of 0.93.

Express Scripts announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback plan on Monday, December 18th that permits the company to buyback 45,000,000 shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Express Scripts news, VP Glen D. Stettin sold 3,449 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, January 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.00, for a total transaction of $279,369.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 33,715 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,730,915. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, VP Christine Houston sold 10,104 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, December 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.08, for a total transaction of $708,088.32. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 87,400 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,124,992. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 17,001 shares of company stock valued at $1,249,505 in the last three months. 0.68% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Stonebridge Capital Advisors LLC boosted its position in Express Scripts by 0.4% during the 2nd quarter. Stonebridge Capital Advisors LLC now owns 24,059 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,536,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. National Asset Management Inc. raised its holdings in Express Scripts by 1.5% in the 2nd quarter. National Asset Management Inc. now owns 7,939 shares of the company’s stock worth $510,000 after purchasing an additional 115 shares in the last quarter. Psagot Investment House Ltd. raised its holdings in Express Scripts by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. Psagot Investment House Ltd. now owns 27,528 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,757,000 after purchasing an additional 327 shares in the last quarter. Nelson Van Denburg & Campbell Wealth Management Group LLC raised its holdings in Express Scripts by 2.4% in the 2nd quarter. Nelson Van Denburg & Campbell Wealth Management Group LLC now owns 16,565 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,071,000 after purchasing an additional 387 shares in the last quarter. Finally, James Investment Research Inc. raised its holdings in Express Scripts by 2.2% in the 4th quarter. James Investment Research Inc. now owns 30,241 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,257,000 after purchasing an additional 656 shares in the last quarter. 87.46% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Express Scripts

Express Scripts, Inc is a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company in North America, offering a range of services to its clients, which include health insurers, third-party administrators, employers, union-sponsored benefit plans, workers’ compensation plans and government health programs. It operates in two segments: PBM and Emerging Markets (EM).

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