UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) Shares Gap Up on Analyst Upgrade

UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH)’s stock price gapped up prior to trading on Friday after Morgan Stanley raised their price target on the stock from $285.00 to $298.00. The stock had previously closed at $266.52, but opened at $261.16. Morgan Stanley currently has an overweight rating on the stock. UnitedHealth Group shares last traded at $264.57, with a volume of 329,575 shares.

A number of other analysts have also weighed in on the stock. Citigroup reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Healthequity in a research note on Friday, May 10th. Barclays set a $24.00 price objective on shares of Tenet Healthcare and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 17th. UBS Group set a $36.00 price objective on shares of Halliburton and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 23rd. Raymond James set a $8.00 price objective on shares of Superior Energy Services and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 17th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered shares of Acceleron Pharma from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 18th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating, eighteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $291.53.

In other UnitedHealth Group news, Director Richard T. Burke sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, April 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $229.75, for a total transaction of $2,297,500.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 187,663 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $43,115,574.25. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director William C. Ballard, Jr. sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, May 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $239.02, for a total transaction of $1,195,100.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 77,993 shares in the company, valued at $18,641,886.86. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 35,000 shares of company stock worth $8,392,500. 0.87% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Private Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in UnitedHealth Group by 57.9% during the first quarter. Private Advisors LLC now owns 6,501 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock valued at $1,607,000 after purchasing an additional 2,385 shares in the last quarter. First City Capital Management Inc. purchased a new position in UnitedHealth Group during the fourth quarter valued at $580,000. Moneta Group Investment Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in UnitedHealth Group by 4.9% during the fourth quarter. Moneta Group Investment Advisors LLC now owns 6,969 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock valued at $1,736,000 after purchasing an additional 328 shares in the last quarter. InterOcean Capital LLC lifted its holdings in UnitedHealth Group by 18.0% during the fourth quarter. InterOcean Capital LLC now owns 6,352 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock valued at $1,582,000 after purchasing an additional 969 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. lifted its holdings in UnitedHealth Group by 4.5% during the fourth quarter. Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. now owns 103,701 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock valued at $25,834,000 after purchasing an additional 4,420 shares in the last quarter. 85.62% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $246.51. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63, a current ratio of 0.73 and a quick ratio of 0.73. The firm has a market capitalization of $248.19 billion, a PE ratio of 20.64, a PEG ratio of 1.40 and a beta of 0.61.

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

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, June 25th. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 17th were paid a $1.08 dividend. This is an increase from UnitedHealth Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.90. This represents a $4.32 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.62%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, June 14th. UnitedHealth Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 33.54%.

About UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH)

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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