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UnitedHealth Group (UNH) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

Zacks Equity Research

UnitedHealth Group (UNH) closed at $289.79 in the latest trading session, marking a -0.6% move from the prior day. This change lagged the S&P 500's 0.28% loss on the day. Elsewhere, the Dow lost 0.42%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 0.03%.

Prior to today's trading, shares of the largest U.S. health insurer had gained 5.05% over the past month. This has outpaced the Medical sector's gain of 1.32% and the S&P 500's gain of 3.31% in that time.

Wall Street will be looking for positivity from UNH as it approaches its next earnings report date. This is expected to be January 15, 2020. On that day, UNH is projected to report earnings of $3.77 per share, which would represent year-over-year growth of 14.94%. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue is projecting net sales of $60.98 billion, up 4.38% from the year-ago period.

It is also important to note the recent changes to analyst estimates for UNH. Recent revisions tend to reflect the latest near-term business trends. With this in mind, we can consider positive estimate revisions a sign of optimism about the company's business outlook.

Our research shows that these estimate changes are directly correlated with near-term stock prices. To benefit from this, we have developed the Zacks Rank, a proprietary model which takes these estimate changes into account and provides an actionable rating system.

The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 0.01% lower. UNH is holding a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold) right now.

In terms of valuation, UNH is currently trading at a Forward P/E ratio of 17.73. Its industry sports an average Forward P/E of 17.24, so we one might conclude that UNH is trading at a premium comparatively.

Investors should also note that UNH has a PEG ratio of 1.41 right now. This metric is used similarly to the famous P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also takes into account the stock's expected earnings growth rate. The Medical - HMOs industry currently had an average PEG ratio of 1.23 as of yesterday's close.

The Medical - HMOs industry is part of the Medical sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 171, putting it in the bottom 33% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our individual industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.

You can find more information on all of these metrics, and much more, on Zacks.com.


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