Analysts expect that Anthem Inc (NYSE:ANTM) will report $22.14 billion in sales for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Six analysts have issued estimates for Anthem’s earnings, with the highest sales estimate coming in at $22.32 billion and the lowest estimate coming in at $21.86 billion. Anthem posted sales of $21.48 billion in the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 3.1%. The firm is expected to announce its next earnings report before the market opens on Wednesday, January 31st.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Anthem will report full year sales of $22.14 billion for the current fiscal year, with estimates ranging from $88.47 billion to $88.93 billion. For the next fiscal year, analysts expect that the business will post sales of $90.46 billion per share, with estimates ranging from $85.11 billion to $93.79 billion. Zacks Investment Research’s sales calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that that provide coverage for Anthem.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The company reported $2.65 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.40 by $0.25. The firm had revenue of $22.10 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $22.10 billion. Anthem had a return on equity of 12.97% and a net margin of 3.35%. The business’s revenue was up 4.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $2.45 earnings per share.

A number of analysts have recently issued reports on the company. Jefferies Group raised Anthem from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and cut their price objective for the company from $235.00 to $211.00 in a research report on Friday, January 12th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Anthem in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. Zacks Investment Research raised Anthem from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $253.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Goldman Sachs Group assumed coverage on Anthem in a research report on Wednesday, January 3rd. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $243.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies raised Anthem from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $151.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $205.60.

In other Anthem news, Chairman Joseph Swedish sold 21,125 shares of Anthem stock in a transaction on Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $231.43, for a total value of $4,888,958.75. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 87,668 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $20,289,005.24. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Julie A. Hill sold 1,602 shares of Anthem stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $215.70, for a total value of $345,551.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 35,322 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,618,955.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 126,759 shares of company stock valued at $29,115,506 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.36% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. First Interstate Bank increased its stake in shares of Anthem by 1,910.7% in the 3rd quarter. First Interstate Bank now owns 563 shares of the company’s stock valued at $107,000 after purchasing an additional 535 shares during the last quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. increased its stake in shares of Anthem by 1.4% in the 2nd quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. now owns 710 shares of the company’s stock valued at $134,000 after purchasing an additional 10 shares during the last quarter. Harding Loevner LP bought a new position in shares of Anthem in the 2nd quarter valued at $151,000. Wealthcare Advisory Partners LLC bought a new position in shares of Anthem in the 3rd quarter valued at $154,000. Finally, Krilogy Financial LLC bought a new position in shares of Anthem in the 2nd quarter valued at $160,000. Institutional investors own 87.41% of the company’s stock.

Anthem (NYSE ANTM) traded up $1.93 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $241.75. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,513,800 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,429,370. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.53, a quick ratio of 1.51 and a current ratio of 1.51. The company has a market capitalization of $63,840.00, a P/E ratio of 21.86, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.68 and a beta of 0.79. Anthem has a 12-month low of $144.44 and a 12-month high of $243.80.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 21st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, December 5th were issued a $0.70 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Monday, December 4th. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.16%. Anthem’s dividend payout ratio is presently 25.32%.

Anthem declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback plan on Thursday, December 7th that authorizes the company to repurchase $5.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

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About Anthem

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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