UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “UnitedHealth has been performing well on the back of solid performance by its UnitedHealthcare and Optum segments. The company's robust Government is also driving long-term growth. Its international business and strong capital position driving business investment are the other positives. The company has been witnessing an increase in membership over the past many years. Its raised 2018 earnings guidance should instill optimism among investors in the stock. Shares of UnitedHealth Group have slightly underperformed the industry in a year's time. However, the company is witnessing pressure in membership in its commercial business. Increasing consolidation will also heat up competition in the industry.”

UNH has been the topic of several other reports. Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on UnitedHealth Group from $278.00 to $305.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 5th. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a “buy” rating and issued a $300.00 price objective on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research report on Thursday, July 5th. Goldman Sachs Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $277.00 price objective on shares of UnitedHealth Group in a research report on Tuesday, July 17th. Royal Bank of Canada upped their price objective on UnitedHealth Group from $282.00 to $284.00 and gave the company a “$255.42” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 18th. Finally, SunTrust Banks began coverage on UnitedHealth Group in a research report on Monday, June 11th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $300.00 price objective on the stock. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-one have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. UnitedHealth Group has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $274.05.

UNH stock traded down $0.38 on Tuesday, reaching $263.49. 54,210 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,335,011. UnitedHealth Group has a twelve month low of $186.00 and a twelve month high of $271.16. The firm has a market capitalization of $255.35 billion, a PE ratio of 26.17, a P/E/G ratio of 1.58 and a beta of 0.71. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63, a current ratio of 0.75 and a quick ratio of 0.75.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 17th. The healthcare conglomerate reported $3.14 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $3.04 by $0.10. The firm had revenue of $56.09 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $56.10 billion. UnitedHealth Group had a return on equity of 22.79% and a net margin of 5.55%. UnitedHealth Group’s quarterly revenue was up 12.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $2.46 earnings per share. equities research analysts expect that UnitedHealth Group will post 12.72 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

UnitedHealth Group announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan on Wednesday, June 6th that allows the company to buyback 100,000,000 shares. This buyback authorization allows the healthcare conglomerate to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In other UnitedHealth Group news, EVP D Ellen Wilson sold 15,393 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $264.29, for a total transaction of $4,068,215.97. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 66,402 shares in the company, valued at approximately $17,549,384.58. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Kenneth Irwin Shine sold 177 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, July 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $255.72, for a total value of $45,262.44. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 29,053 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,429,433.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 94,745 shares of company stock valued at $24,995,290. 0.87% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC lifted its holdings in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 26.5% in the 2nd quarter. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC now owns 920 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $226,000 after purchasing an additional 193 shares during the last quarter. OLD Mutual Customised Solutions Proprietary Ltd. lifted its holdings in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. OLD Mutual Customised Solutions Proprietary Ltd. now owns 17,096 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $4,194,000 after purchasing an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. Ballentine Partners LLC lifted its holdings in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 2.3% in the 2nd quarter. Ballentine Partners LLC now owns 9,038 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $2,218,000 after purchasing an additional 202 shares during the last quarter. Nikulski Financial Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 1.8% in the 2nd quarter. Nikulski Financial Inc. now owns 11,759 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $2,885,000 after purchasing an additional 205 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Trustcore Financial Services LLC lifted its holdings in shares of UnitedHealth Group by 34.1% in the 2nd quarter. Trustcore Financial Services LLC now owns 810 shares of the healthcare conglomerate’s stock worth $199,000 after purchasing an additional 206 shares during the last quarter. 85.31% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

UnitedHealth Group Company Profile

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 care coverage, and 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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