The analyst firm also raised its EPS estimates for the health insurance company through 2015. Leerink analysts expect Cigna to report earnings of $7.37 a share for full year 2014, up from previous estimates of $7.30 a share. The firm raised its 2015 EPS estimates to $8.36 a share from $8.30 a share.
"After three quarters of spotty performance, CI has delivered a strong 3Q beating EPS by 13 c and raising estimates by 5 c, with solid core metrics," analyst Ana Gupta wrote. "This appears to be dispelling multiple bear thesis that have plagued the stock."
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates CIGNA CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate CIGNA CORP (CI) 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 solid stock price performance, revenue growth, notable return on equity and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- 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 30.09% 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, CI should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
- CI's revenue growth trails the industry average of 19.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
- The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Health Care Providers & Services industry and the overall market, CIGNA CORP's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
- CIGNA CORP's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CIGNA CORP reported lower earnings of $5.20 versus $5.61 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.38 versus $5.20).
- The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Health Care Providers & Services industry average. The net income has decreased by 3.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $553.00 million to $534.00 million.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: CI Ratings Report