Anthem, Inc. (ANTM) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Anthem, Inc. (NYSE:ANTM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Wednesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $207.00 price target 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. Its 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.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $205.00 price objective on shares of Anthem in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. Morgan Stanley assumed coverage on Anthem in a research report on Tuesday, June 6th. They issued an equal weight rating and a $196.00 price objective on the stock. Credit Suisse Group assumed coverage on Anthem in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. They issued a neutral rating and a $195.00 price objective on the stock. Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed an overweight rating and issued a $215.00 price objective (up from $210.00) on shares of Anthem in a research report on Wednesday, July 26th. Finally, Bank of America Corporation upped their price objective on Anthem from $224.00 to $228.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Friday, July 14th. Nine investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $184.67.

Shares of Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) opened at 182.86 on Wednesday. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $191.59 and its 200-day moving average price is $182.25. Anthem has a 12 month low of $114.85 and a 12 month high of $198.98. The stock has a market capitalization of $48.02 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.29 and a beta of 0.70.

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

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The business 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 dividend of $0.70 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 7th. This is a positive change from Anthem’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.65. This represents a $2.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.53%. Anthem’s payout ratio is currently 26.52%.

In other news, Director Julie A. Hill sold 524 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 10th. The stock was 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 approximately $7,045,099.20. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Joseph Swedish sold 21,125 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $197.00, for a total value of $4,161,625.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 87,668 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $17,270,596. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 30,776 shares of company stock valued at $6,007,143. Company insiders own 0.36% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its stake in shares of Anthem by 177.3% in the 2nd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,269,249 shares of the company’s stock worth $238,783,000 after purchasing an additional 811,537 shares in the last quarter. Swiss National Bank increased its stake in shares of Anthem by 3.3% in the 2nd quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 1,026,741 shares of the company’s stock worth $193,161,000 after purchasing an additional 32,900 shares in the last quarter. Deschutes Portfolio Strategy LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Anthem in the 2nd quarter worth $273,000. Endurant Capital Management LP increased its stake in shares of Anthem by 99.6% in the 1st quarter. Endurant Capital Management LP now owns 56,098 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,277,000 after purchasing an additional 27,998 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Union Bankshares Corp increased its stake in shares of Anthem by 1.4% in the 2nd quarter. Union Bankshares Corp now owns 3,619 shares of the company’s stock worth $681,000 after purchasing an additional 49 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 87.65% 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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