The lower price target comes even though the Hartford, CT-based health insurer posted "strong" results for the 2016 third quarter yesterday.
"Consistent with prior years Aetna did not provide guidance on 2017 or comment on consensus estimates for 2017, however the company did highlight some challenges and opportunities heading into next year," the firm wrote in an analyst note earlier today.
"Once again, we are left with a dilemma of how to set our 2017 estimates before the company issues guidance," Barclays added.
The firm has reduced its 2017 earnings per share estimate to $8.60 from $8.90.
"We now see that as a starting point, or a very conservative estimate from which to grow off of. More importantly, adjusting for the various factors we believe the company can earn between $8.75 and $9.50 in a more normal set of circumstances," Barclays noted.
Shares of Aetna closed down on heavy trading volume today. About 3.72 million of the company's shares changed hands today vs. its average 30-day volume of 2.13 million shares.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings Team has a "Buy" rating with a score of A on the stock.
The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income.
The team believes its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.
Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: AET