Will These Price Target Increases Help Aetna (AET) Stock Today?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Barclays and Leerink raised their price targets for Aetna (AET) Wednesday.

Barclays raised its price target for the company to $95 from $87 with an "overweight" rating. The higher number is driven b stronger membership and revenues according to Barclays analysts.

Leerink raised its price target for Aetna to $90 from $83 with an "outperform" rating. The analyst firm also raised its EPS estimates for the company through 2015, noting that public exchange margins should drive growth.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates AETNA INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate AETNA INC (AET) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 16.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 46.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 28.27% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, AET should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • AETNA INC has improved earnings per share by 23.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AETNA INC increased its bottom line by earning $5.35 versus $4.78 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.53 versus $5.35).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Health Care Providers & Services industry. The net income increased by 35.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $490.10 million to $665.50 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AET Ratings Report

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Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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