Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday, March 13th.
According to Zacks, “Integrating medical care and pharmacy benefits under one roof, Express Scripts Holding Company recently announced that it is getting acquired by Cigna Corporation, a global health insurance company.The company has been benefitting from a rise in patient claims and strong customer retention. Express Scripts’ solid guidance for 2018 holds promise. The company recently inked an agreement to acquire eviCore healthcare for $3.6 billion. Express Scripts' pharmacy-benefit management segment (PBM) coupled with eviCore's complementary medical-benefit solutions is likely to build a comprehensive PBM solution worldwide. On the flip side, the company recently announced that its biggest customer and leading health insurer Anthem is not likely to extend its PBM agreement with Express Scripts anymore. Persistent drug pricing issue is also anticipated to affect the stock. The company faces stiff competition.”
Other equities analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Sanford C. Bernstein cut shares of Express Scripts from a market perform rating to an underperform rating and lifted their price target for the stock from $55.80 to $77.50 in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Raymond James Financial reiterated a sell rating on shares of Express Scripts in a research note on Friday, December 15th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Express Scripts from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Jefferies Group set a $91.00 price objective on shares of Express Scripts and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 28th. Finally, William Blair downgraded shares of Express Scripts from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a report on Thursday, March 8th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have assigned a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $81.97.
Shares of Express Scripts stock traded down $0.46 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $72.53. 4,186,238 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 5,342,532. Express Scripts has a 1 year low of $55.80 and a 1 year high of $85.07. The company has a market capitalization of $42,665.23, a PE ratio of 9.32, a PEG ratio of 0.93 and a beta of 0.94. The company has a current ratio of 0.67, a quick ratio of 0.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83.
Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 27th. The company reported $2.16 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.09 by $0.07. The firm had revenue of $25.38 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $25.07 billion. Express Scripts had a net margin of 4.51% and a return on equity of 25.19%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.88 earnings per share. analysts forecast that Express Scripts will post 9.35 EPS for the current year.
Express Scripts declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback plan on Monday, December 18th that allows the company to repurchase 45,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
In related news, VP Glen D. Stettin sold 3,448 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $76.00, for a total transaction of $262,048.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP Glen D. Stettin sold 3,449 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, January 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.00, for a total transaction of $279,369.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 33,715 shares in the company, valued at $2,730,915. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 31,681 shares of company stock valued at $2,435,102. Corporate insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.
A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Van ECK Associates Corp boosted its position in Express Scripts by 5.1% during the third quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 506,511 shares of the company’s stock worth $32,072,000 after purchasing an additional 24,728 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in Express Scripts by 12.5% during the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 35,421 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,243,000 after purchasing an additional 3,940 shares during the period. LMR Partners LLP bought a new position in Express Scripts during the third quarter worth about $3,230,000. Polianta Ltd boosted its position in shares of Express Scripts by 38.9% in the fourth quarter. Polianta Ltd now owns 20,700 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,545,000 after acquiring an additional 5,800 shares during the period. Finally, Zeke Capital Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Express Scripts by 85.4% in the third quarter. Zeke Capital Advisors LLC now owns 12,347 shares of the company’s stock valued at $782,000 after acquiring an additional 5,688 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 89.44% of the company’s stock.
About Express Scripts
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).
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