UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) stock is in the green today after Raymond James upgraded shares from “outperform” to “strong buy” and raised its priced target to $630 from $615. This follows news that the U.S. finalized a 1.12% cut to Medicare Advantage ( ) rates for 2024.
Raymond James analyst John Ransom believes that much of the regulatory policy overhangs in regard to UNH stock have been eased in recent months. Ransom also characterized the MA cut as a “clearing event for the MA providers.” Ransom added that UNH stock may be undervalued following price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple compression. The analyst explained:
“We think that the stocks are likely de-risked at current levels and present attractive entry points for defensive stocks with double-digits [long-term] earnings growth algos.”
On TipRanks, Ransom has a success rate of 59% and an average annual return of 9.7% for stocks covered. That ranks him as the 343rd Wall Street analyst among 8,382 analysts. Among all experts on TipRanks, he ranks at 790 out of 32,401 experts.
Other analysts seem to agree with Ransom. UNH stock has an average price target of $592.26 among 23 research firms, which implies upside of about 16% from current levels. The highest price target is $650 while the lowest is $531 per share.
5 Investors Betting Big on UNH Stock
Tracking institutional ownership is important, as these large investors provide liquidity and support for stocks. During the fourth quarter, a healthy 3,030 13F filers reported ownership of UNH stock, up from 2,910 filers during the previous quarter. In total, these filers own 816.41 million shares, up from 805.98 million shares. Furthmore, among these filers, 559 filers own UNH in their top 10 positions.
Meanwhile, the institutional put/call ratio sits at 0.94. That’s equivalent to 8.34 million puts and 8.89 million calls, implying a relatively neutral options stance. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the largest shareholders of UnitedHealth stock:
- Vanguard: 84.05 million shares. Vanguard acquired 1.08 million shares during Q4.
- BlackRock (NYSE:BLK): 74.41 million shares. BlackRock acquired 3.07 million shares during Q4.
- FMR: 48.94 million shares. FMR acquired 527,435 shares during Q4.
- State Street (NYSE:STT): 46.19 million shares. State Street acquired 239,552 shares during Q4.
- T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ:TROW): 31.95 million shares. T. Rowe sold 723,398 shares during Q4. Among the top five shareholders, T. Rowe Price was the only shareholder to sell shares of UNH during Q4.
On the date of publication, Eddie Pan did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.