In the latest trading session, UnitedHealth Group (UNH - Free Report) closed at $266.70, marking a +0.11% move from the previous day. The stock outpaced the S&P 500's daily loss of 0.04%. Meanwhile, the Dow gained 0.33%, and the Nasdaq, a tech-heavy index, lost 0.51%.
Heading into today, shares of the largest U.S. health insurer had gained 1.9% over the past month, lagging the Medical sector's gain of 3.21% and the S&P 500's gain of 2.79% 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 October 16, 2018. In that report, analysts expect UNH to post earnings of $3.30 per share. This would mark year-over-year growth of 24.06%. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue is projecting net sales of $56.13 billion, up 11.54% from the year-ago period.
For the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates are projecting earnings of $12.72 per share and revenue of $224.86 billion, which would represent changes of +26.32% and +11.78%, respectively, from the prior year.
Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for UNH. Recent revisions tend to reflect the latest near-term business trends. As such, positive estimate revisions reflect analyst optimism about the company's business and profitability.
Research indicates that these estimate revisions are directly correlated with near-term share price momentum. Investors can capitalize on this by using the Zacks Rank. This model considers these estimate changes and provides a simple, 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 0.02% higher within the past month. UNH is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).
In terms of valuation, UNH is currently trading at a Forward P/E ratio of 20.94. Its industry sports an average Forward P/E of 18.95, so we one might conclude that UNH is trading at a premium comparatively.
We can also see that UNH currently has a PEG ratio of 1.58. 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. Medical - HMOs stocks are, on average, holding a PEG ratio of 1.44 based on yesterday's closing prices.
The Medical - HMOs industry is part of the Medical sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 36, which puts it in the top 14% of all 250+ industries.
The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our 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.
Be sure to follow all of these stock-moving metrics, and many more, on Zacks.com.