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UnitedHealth Group (UNH) Gains But Lags Market: What You Should Know

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UnitedHealth Group (UNH) closed at $487.21 in the latest trading session, marking a +0.72% move from the prior day. The stock lagged the S&P 500's daily gain of 1.78%. Meanwhile, the Dow gained 1.61%, and the Nasdaq, a tech-heavy index, added 0.95%.

Prior to today's trading, shares of the largest U.S. health insurer had gained 10.56% over the past month. This has outpaced the Medical sector's loss of 0.46% and the S&P 500's loss of 2.63% in that time.

Investors will be hoping for strength from UnitedHealth Group as it approaches its next earnings release. On that day, UnitedHealth Group is projected to report earnings of $4.31 per share, which would represent year-over-year growth of 71.03%. Meanwhile, our latest consensus estimate is calling for revenue of $72.73 billion, up 11.09% from the prior-year quarter.

For the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates are projecting earnings of $18.85 per share and revenue of $287.08 billion, which would represent changes of +11.67% and +11.64%, respectively, from the prior year.

Investors might also notice recent changes to analyst estimates for UnitedHealth Group. These recent revisions tend to reflect the evolving nature of short-term business trends. As a result, we can interpret positive estimate revisions as a good sign for the company's business outlook.

Based on our research, we believe these estimate revisions are directly related to near-team stock moves. 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.

Ranging from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), the Zacks Rank system has a proven, outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks returning an average of +25% annually since 1988. The Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 0.05% lower within the past month. UnitedHealth Group currently has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).

Investors should also note UnitedHealth Group's current valuation metrics, including its Forward P/E ratio of 25.67. This valuation marks a premium compared to its industry's average Forward P/E of 22.17.

Investors should also note that UNH has a PEG ratio of 1.75 right now. This popular metric is similar to the widely-known P/E ratio, with the difference being that the PEG ratio also takes into account the company's expected earnings growth rate. The Medical - HMOs industry currently had an average PEG ratio of 1.26 as of yesterday's close.

The Medical - HMOs industry is part of the Medical sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 169, which puts it in the bottom 34% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank includes is listed in order from best to worst in terms of the average Zacks Rank of the individual companies within each of these sectors. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.

Be sure to follow all of these stock-moving metrics, and many more, on Zacks.com.

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