Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Wednesday, January 3rd. The brokerage currently has $253.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Anthem's shares have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. Its diverse product portfolio has helped in improving underwriting results. Its strategic acquisitions, divestitures and ACO arrangements pave the way for long-term growth. The company’s rising level of medical membership continues to boost the top line. Its strong capital position backs effective capital deployment via share buyback programs and regular dividend payments. Followed by strong third-quarter 2017 results, the company raised earnings guidance for 2017. However, loss incurred on public exchange business continues to bother. Also rising level of debt and expenses keep draining the margins.”

ANTM has been the subject of several other reports. Morgan Stanley increased their price objective on Anthem from $201.00 to $215.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. BidaskClub raised Anthem from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Bank of America raised their price target on Anthem from $249.00 to $254.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Friday, November 17th. ValuEngine raised Anthem from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Finally, Jefferies Group raised their price target on Anthem from $204.00 to $211.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Friday, October 13th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $209.27.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) opened at $257.02 on Wednesday. Anthem has a twelve month low of $151.77 and a twelve month high of $259.04. The firm has a market capitalization of $66,292.99, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.72, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.78 and a beta of 0.79. The company has a current ratio of 1.51, a quick ratio of 1.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.53.

Anthem announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback program on Thursday, December 7th that allows the company to repurchase $5.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Anthem news, Director Julie A. Hill sold 1,602 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $215.70, for a total transaction of $345,551.40. Following the sale, the director now owns 35,322 shares in the company, valued at $7,618,955.40. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, SVP Ronald W. Penczek sold 978 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $217.42, for a total value of $212,636.76. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 1,222 shares in the company, valued at approximately $265,687.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 126,759 shares of company stock worth $29,115,506 in the last quarter. 0.36% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ANTM. First Interstate Bank increased its holdings in shares of Anthem by 1,910.7% in the third quarter. First Interstate Bank now owns 563 shares of the company’s stock worth $107,000 after buying an additional 535 shares during the period. Captrust Financial Advisors purchased a new position in shares of Anthem in the second quarter worth about $128,000. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Anthem by 1.4% in the second quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. now owns 710 shares of the company’s stock worth $134,000 after buying an additional 10 shares during the period. Harding Loevner LP purchased a new position in shares of Anthem in the second quarter worth about $151,000. Finally, Wealthcare Advisory Partners LLC purchased a new position in shares of Anthem in the third quarter worth about $154,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 87.52% of the company’s stock.

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Anthem Company Profile

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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Analyst Recommendations for Anthem (NYSE:ANTM)

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