Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Monday. The brokerage currently has a $64.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 11.87% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “We are upbeat about Express Scripts’ pharmacy-benefits management long-term outlook. The projection takes the volatile healthcare market trends, inflation, patent expiration and lower industry utilization growth into consideration. Furthermore, Express Scripts should benefit from increased generic utilization, shift toward mail orders, strong specialty growth and an aging population. Branded drugs are becoming increasingly expensive due to double-digit brand inflation. Thus, continued rise in the price of specialty drugs and overwhelming regulatory burden is opening up considerable prospects for generics. However, over the past one year, Express Scripts has underperformed the broader industry in terms of price. Tough competition in the niche space and the persistent drug pricing issue are anticipated to affect the stock.”

Several other brokerages have also recently issued reports on ESRX. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $56.00 target price on shares of Express Scripts Holding in a research note on Friday, September 1st. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on shares of Express Scripts Holding from $52.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 10th. BidaskClub cut shares of Express Scripts Holding from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Friday, August 4th. Royal Bank Of Canada started coverage on shares of Express Scripts Holding in a research note on Tuesday, September 19th. They set a “sector perform” rating and a $68.00 target price on the stock. Finally, ValuEngine cut shares of Express Scripts Holding from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, September 1st. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $69.09.

Express Scripts Holding (NASDAQ ESRX) opened at 57.21 on Monday. The company’s 50 day moving average is $61.90 and its 200-day moving average is $62.41. The company has a market cap of $33.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.93 and a beta of 0.88. Express Scripts Holding has a 12 month low of $56.62 and a 12 month high of $77.50.

Express Scripts Holding (NASDAQ:ESRX) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 25th. The company reported $1.73 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.71 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $25.35 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $25.52 billion. Express Scripts Holding had a net margin of 3.50% and a return on equity of 25.58%. The firm’s revenue was up .5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.57 EPS. On average, analysts expect that Express Scripts Holding will post $6.99 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, VP Everett Neville sold 1,163 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.48, for a total transaction of $71,501.24. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 18,232 shares in the company, valued at $1,120,903.36. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Woodrow A. Myers, Jr. sold 3,900 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.93, for a total transaction of $249,327.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 11,500 shares in the company, valued at $735,195. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 5,641 shares of company stock worth $357,317 over the last quarter. Insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ESRX. Dodge & Cox increased its stake in shares of Express Scripts Holding by 25.7% during the second quarter. Dodge & Cox now owns 36,188,517 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,310,275,000 after buying an additional 7,388,021 shares during the period. Pzena Investment Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Express Scripts Holding during the second quarter worth approximately $181,234,000. Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its stake in shares of Express Scripts Holding by 9,353.3% during the first quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 1,308,239 shares of the company’s stock worth $86,226,000 after buying an additional 1,294,400 shares during the period. Baupost Group LLC MA purchased a new stake in shares of Express Scripts Holding during the first quarter worth approximately $80,978,000. Finally, Northern Trust Corp increased its stake in shares of Express Scripts Holding by 12.2% during the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 11,068,777 shares of the company’s stock worth $706,629,000 after buying an additional 1,206,980 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 88.69% of the company’s stock.

About Express Scripts Holding

Express Scripts, Inc is a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company in North America, offering a range of services to its clients, which include health insurers, third-party administrators, employers, union-sponsored benefit plans, workers’ compensation plans and government health programs. It operates in two segments: PBM and Emerging Markets (EM).

Analyst Recommendations for Express Scripts Holding (NASDAQ:ESRX)

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