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

UnitedHealth Group (UNH) closed at $417.65 in the latest trading session, marking a +0.65% move from the prior day. This move lagged the S&P 500's daily gain of 0.74%.

Prior to today's trading, shares of the largest U.S. health insurer had gained 13.73% over the past month. This has outpaced the Medical sector's gain of 3.01% and the S&P 500's gain of 3.21% in that time.

On that day, UNH is projected to report earnings of $4.40 per share, which would represent a year-over-year decline of 38.2%. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue is projecting net sales of $69.55 billion, up 11.92% from the year-ago period.

UNH's full-year Zacks Consensus Estimates are calling for earnings of $18.54 per share and revenue of $282.15 billion. These results would represent year-over-year changes of +9.83% and +9.73%, respectively.

Any recent changes to analyst estimates for UNH should also be noted by investors. These recent revisions tend to reflect the evolving nature of short-term business trends. As a result, we can interpret positive estimate revisions as a good sign for the company's business outlook.

Based on our research, we believe these estimate revisions are directly related to near-team stock moves. Investors can capitalize on this by using the Zacks Rank. This model considers these estimate changes and provides a simple, actionable rating system.

The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Within the past 30 days, our consensus EPS projection has moved 2.08% higher. UNH currently has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).

Investors should also note UNH's current valuation metrics, including its Forward P/E ratio of 22.38. Its industry sports an average Forward P/E of 20.01, so we one might conclude that UNH is trading at a premium comparatively.

It is also worth noting that UNH currently has a PEG ratio of 1.75. 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 1.19 as of yesterday's close.

The Medical - HMOs industry is part of the Medical sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 79, which puts it in the top 32% 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.

Be sure to follow all of these stock-moving metrics, and many more, on Zacks.com.


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