UnitedHealth Group Inc’s (UNH) quarterly earnings, reported on Wednesday, exceeded Wall Street estimates, supported by revenue growth at its Optum unit.
UnitedHealth shares closed higher for a second consecutive trading session in New York on Wednesday. It has also been the sharpest daily surge since November 15th. The stock went up 2.83% ($8.17) to $296.41, after touching an intraday high at $299.64, or a price level not seen since December 20th ($300.00).
Shares of UnitedHealth Group have risen 0.83% so far in 2020 compared with a 1.81% gain for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).
In 2019, UnitedHealth Group’s stock went up 18.01%, thus, it again underperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 28.88% gain.
Total revenue went up 4.2% year-on-year to $60.90 billion during the quarter ended on December 31st.
Revenue from Optum, the unit engaged in drug benefits management and healthcare data analytics services, went up 8% year-on-year to $29.8 billion during the quarter.
Net income attributable to shareholders surged to $3.54 billion ($3.68 per share) during the quarter ended on December 31st from $3.04 billion ($3.10 per share) in the same period a year ago.
Meanwhile, earnings per share, which exclude special items, were reported at $3.90 during the latest quarter. The figure compares with a consensus of estimates pointing to adjusted earnings of $3.78 per share.
The US health insurer reiterated its full-year 2020 adjusted earnings forecast of $16.25 to $16.55 per share.
Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation
According to CNN Money, the 25 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding UnitedHealth Group Inc’s stock price, have a median target of $339.00, with a high estimate of $366.00 and a low estimate of $279.00. The median estimate represents a 14.37% upside compared to the closing price of $296.41 on January 15th.
The same media also reported that at least 21 out of 27 surveyed investment analysts had rated UnitedHealth Group Inc’s stock as “Buy”, while 5 – as “Hold”.