Humana (NYSE:HUM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Monday. The brokerage presently has a $294.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would suggest a potential upside of 9.67% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Humana’s fourth-quarter 2017 earnings per share of $2.06 beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate but declined 12% year over year due to higher benefit expenses. Following decent 2017 results, the company provided strong guidance for 2018. Its shares have outperformed the industry in last three months.  Humana is well poised to grow on its strong government business. Its top line has been witnessing an uptrend for past many years. Sufficient generation of cash flow has helped the company take up several capital deployment initiatives aimed at enhancing shareholders’ value. Humana’s sound balance sheet and disciplined capital management remain major tailwinds. However, the company's individual commercial business has remained a drag over past few years. Rising level of expenses also continues to weigh on the bottom line.”

Several other brokerages also recently commented on HUM. Leerink Swann raised their target price on Humana from $280.00 to $300.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, February 8th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised their target price on Humana from $253.00 to $271.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday. Jefferies Group upgraded Humana from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $221.00 target price for the company in a research note on Friday, January 12th. Credit Suisse Group upgraded Humana from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and cut their price target for the company from $264.90 to $246.00 in a research note on Thursday, February 8th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $250.00 price target on shares of Humana in a research note on Wednesday, February 7th. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $270.47.

Shares of Humana (NYSE HUM) opened at $268.07 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48, a current ratio of 1.85 and a quick ratio of 1.61. The company has a market capitalization of $38,400.00, a PE ratio of 16.07, a PEG ratio of 1.44 and a beta of 0.93. Humana has a 12 month low of $203.36 and a 12 month high of $293.35.

Humana (NYSE:HUM) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, February 7th. The insurance provider reported $2.06 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.00 by $0.06. The company had revenue of $13.19 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $13.14 billion. Humana had a return on equity of 16.13% and a net margin of 4.55%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business posted $2.34 EPS. analysts anticipate that Humana will post 13.85 earnings per share for the current year.

Humana declared that its board has initiated a share repurchase plan on Thursday, December 14th that authorizes the company to buyback $3.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the insurance provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, SVP Brian P. Leclaire sold 1,679 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $245.97, for a total value of $412,983.63. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 9,888 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,432,151.36. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, VP Timothy S. Huval sold 1,382 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $246.04, for a total value of $340,027.28. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 11,557 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,843,484.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 10,115 shares of company stock valued at $2,501,627 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.80% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. WFG Advisors LP boosted its stake in shares of Humana by 4.5% in the 2nd quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 469 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $113,000 after buying an additional 20 shares during the last quarter. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC purchased a new position in shares of Humana in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $115,000. American Beacon Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Humana in the 4th quarter worth approximately $122,000. ClariVest Asset Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Humana in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $144,000. Finally, YorkBridge Wealth Partners LLC boosted its stake in shares of Humana by 99.0% in the 4th quarter. YorkBridge Wealth Partners LLC now owns 597 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $159,000 after buying an additional 297 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 94.13% of the company’s stock.

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About Humana

Humana Inc is a health and well-being company. The Company’s segments include Retail, Group and Specialty, Healthcare Services and Individual Commercial. The Retail segment consists of Medicare benefits, as well as individual commercial fully insured medical and specialty health insurance benefits, including dental, vision, and other supplemental health and financial protection products.

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