Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Cigna (CI) to Buy

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Cigna (NYSE:CI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Friday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $231.00 price objective on the health services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Cigna’s shares have outperformed the industry, year to date.  The company is poised for long-term growth on the back of its robust Global Supplemental business, growing Government business and increasing membership. A strong capital position and resumption of share buyback are the other positives. Also, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2017 and 2018 moved up 3% and 0.9%, respectively, in the last 60 days. Cigna is engaged in a legal tussle with Anthem and thus the termination fee and other charges that it was to receive from the latter remain uncertain.  Increase in benefits and expenses continue to bother us.”

A number of other research firms have also commented on CI. Citigroup raised their price target on shares of Cigna from $198.00 to $231.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. Morgan Stanley increased their price objective on shares of Cigna from $195.00 to $223.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Friday, November 3rd. Jefferies Group increased their price objective on shares of Cigna from $221.00 to $231.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, November 3rd. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated an outperform rating and set a $220.00 price objective (up from $185.00) on shares of Cigna in a research note on Friday, November 3rd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group started coverage on shares of Cigna in a research note on Thursday, November 2nd. They set an outperform rating and a $219.00 price objective on the stock. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fifteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Cigna currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $202.56.

Cigna (CI) opened at $203.39 on Friday. Cigna has a 1 year low of $133.11 and a 1 year high of $212.46. The company has a market cap of $50,145.74, a PE ratio of 22.28, a P/E/G ratio of 1.55 and a beta of 0.50. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37, a quick ratio of 0.39 and a current ratio of 0.39.

Cigna (NYSE:CI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The health services provider reported $2.83 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.36 by $0.47. Cigna had a net margin of 5.74% and a return on equity of 18.85%. The business had revenue of $10.38 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.17 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.94 earnings per share. Cigna’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts anticipate that Cigna will post 10.34 EPS for the current year.

In other news, insider Michael W. Triplett sold 10,417 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $197.77, for a total value of $2,060,170.09. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 32,347 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,397,266.19. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Alan Muney sold 15,345 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $200.80, for a total transaction of $3,081,276.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 28,457 shares in the company, valued at $5,714,165.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 34,936 shares of company stock worth $6,979,204. 1.30% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Cigna by 2.5% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 17,130,735 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $2,867,514,000 after buying an additional 424,469 shares during the period. FMR LLC boosted its position in Cigna by 6.7% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 6,909,638 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $1,156,604,000 after buying an additional 432,978 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its position in Cigna by 40.8% during the 2nd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 4,088,728 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $684,413,000 after buying an additional 1,184,632 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its position in Cigna by 4.8% during the 3rd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 3,776,414 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $705,889,000 after buying an additional 171,712 shares during the period. Finally, TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its position in Cigna by 5.2% during the 2nd quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 3,655,875 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $611,957,000 after buying an additional 180,310 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 87.74% of the company’s stock.

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About Cigna

Cigna Corporation (Cigna), together with its subsidiaries, is a health services company. The Company offers medical, dental, disability, life and accident insurance and related products and services. The Company’s segments include Global Health Care, Global Supplemental Benefits, Group Disability and Life, and Other Operations and Corporate.

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