Express Scripts (ESRX) Upgraded to “Market Perform” at Sanford C. Bernstein

Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) was upgraded by equities researchers at Sanford C. Bernstein from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research note issued on Monday, March 12th, MarketBeat reports.

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. Raymond James Financial reaffirmed a “sell” rating on shares of Express Scripts in a report on Friday, December 15th. BidaskClub cut Express Scripts from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Jefferies Group set a $91.00 price target on Express Scripts and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 28th. William Blair cut Express Scripts from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Thursday, March 8th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada upgraded shares of Express Scripts from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $68.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, January 31st. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have given a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. Express Scripts currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $81.97.

Shares of ESRX traded down $1.30 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $67.88. The stock had a trading volume of 3,171,515 shares, compared to its average volume of 5,325,500. The company has a current ratio of 0.67, a quick ratio of 0.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83. Express Scripts has a 12-month low of $55.80 and a 12-month high of $85.07. The firm has a market capitalization of $39,329.64, a P/E ratio of 9.56, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.86 and a beta of 0.99.

Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 27th. The company reported $2.16 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.09 by $0.07. The company had revenue of $25.38 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $25.07 billion. Express Scripts had a return on equity of 25.19% and a net margin of 4.51%. The firm’s revenue was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.88 earnings per share. sell-side analysts predict that Express Scripts will post 9.35 earnings per share for the current year.

Express Scripts announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Monday, December 18th that permits the company to repurchase 45,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, insider Christine Houston sold 19,889 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $76.69, for a total transaction of $1,525,287.41. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, VP Everett Neville sold 4,895 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.26, for a total transaction of $368,397.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 28,233 shares of company stock worth $2,173,054. Company insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in ESRX. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Express Scripts during the 4th quarter worth about $105,000. Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Co. acquired a new stake in Express Scripts in the 3rd quarter worth about $120,000. Aevitas Wealth Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Express Scripts in the 4th quarter worth about $128,000. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. acquired a new stake in Express Scripts in the 4th quarter worth about $142,000. Finally, Monroe Bank & Trust MI raised its stake in Express Scripts by 74.8% in the 3rd quarter. Monroe Bank & Trust MI now owns 2,266 shares of the company’s stock worth $156,000 after purchasing an additional 970 shares in the last quarter. 89.44% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About Express Scripts

Express Scripts Holding Company operates as a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company in the United States and Canada. The company's PBM segment offers clinical solutions; and specialized pharmacy care, home delivery and specialty pharmacy, retail network pharmacy administration, benefit design consultation, drug utilization review, drug formulary management, public exchange, administration of group purchasing organization, and digital consumer health and drug information services.

Analyst Recommendations for Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX)

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