Anthem Inc (NYSE:ANTM) – Investment analysts at Leerink Swann upped their FY2018 earnings estimates for Anthem in a research report issued on Thursday. Leerink Swann analyst A. Gupte now expects that the company will post earnings per share of $15.10 for the year, up from their previous forecast of $13.00. Leerink Swann currently has a “Outperform” rating on the stock. Leerink Swann also issued estimates for Anthem’s Q4 2018 earnings at $2.31 EPS, FY2019 earnings at $18.00 EPS and FY2020 earnings at $20.00 EPS.

Several other brokerages also recently weighed in on ANTM. Morgan Stanley upped their target price on shares of Anthem from $201.00 to $215.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Anthem from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 2nd. Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $275.00 price objective on shares of Anthem in a research note on Friday, January 19th. Wells Fargo & Co increased their price objective on shares of Anthem from $260.00 to $275.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Anthem from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $230.80.

Shares of Anthem (NYSE ANTM) traded down $0.96 during midday trading on Monday, hitting $229.49. The company had a trading volume of 842,737 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,660,854. The company has a quick ratio of 1.51, a current ratio of 1.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.66. The firm has a market capitalization of $59,170.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.90, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.38 and a beta of 0.83. Anthem has a twelve month low of $155.35 and a twelve month high of $267.95.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, January 31st. The company reported $1.29 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.25 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $22.45 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $22.17 billion. Anthem had a return on equity of 12.29% and a net margin of 4.27%. Anthem’s revenue was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.76 earnings per share.

Anthem announced that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, December 7th that authorizes the company to buyback $5.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 23rd. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 9th will be paid a $0.75 dividend. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.31%. This is an increase from Anthem’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.70. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 8th. Anthem’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 19.50%.

In other Anthem news, Chairman Joseph Swedish sold 21,125 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $231.43, for a total value of $4,888,958.75. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 87,668 shares in the company, valued at $20,289,005.24. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Gloria M. Mccarthy sold 14,429 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $229.68, for a total transaction of $3,314,052.72. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 30,667 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,043,596.56. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 167,457 shares of company stock valued at $39,862,398. 0.36% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Calton & Associates Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Anthem during the fourth quarter worth $100,000. First Interstate Bank lifted its stake in shares of Anthem by 1,910.7% during 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. Bartlett & Co. LLC lifted its stake in shares of Anthem by 50.5% during the fourth quarter. Bartlett & Co. LLC now owns 787 shares of the company’s stock worth $177,000 after buying an additional 264 shares during the period. Wealthcare Advisory Partners LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Anthem during the third quarter worth $154,000. Finally, Krilogy Financial LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Anthem during the second quarter worth $160,000. Institutional investors own 87.41% 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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