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

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In the latest trading session, UnitedHealth Group (UNH - Free Report) closed at $312.02, marking a +1.55% move from the previous day. This move lagged the S&P 500's daily gain of 2.02%. Elsewhere, the Dow gained 1.6%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 2.71%.

Coming into today, shares of the largest U.S. health insurer had lost 2.63% in the past month. In that same time, the Medical sector lost 2.71%, while the S&P 500 lost 0.39%.

UNH will be looking to display strength as it nears its next earnings release. The company is expected to report EPS of $2.98, down 23.2% from the prior-year quarter. Meanwhile, our latest consensus estimate is calling for revenue of $63.73 billion, up 5.61% from the prior-year quarter.

Looking at the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates suggest analysts are expecting earnings of $16.58 per share and revenue of $255.06 billion. These totals would mark changes of +9.73% and +5.33%, respectively, from last year.

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

Research indicates that these estimate revisions are directly correlated with near-term share price momentum. 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 ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell). It has a remarkable, outside-audited track record of success, with #1 stocks delivering an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus EPS estimate remained stagnant. UNH is holding a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold) right now.

Valuation is also important, so investors should note that UNH has a Forward P/E ratio of 18.53 right now. This represents a premium compared to its industry's average Forward P/E of 14.81.

We can also see that UNH currently has a PEG ratio of 1.46. 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 1.46 as of yesterday's close.

The Medical - HMOs industry is part of the Medical sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 31, which puts it in the top 13% 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.

To follow UNH in the coming trading sessions, be sure to utilize Zacks.com.


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