2 Healthcare Stocks Extending Gains After Bull Notes

Analysts see much more upside for MOH and HUM stocks

by Patrick Martin

Published on Aug 2, 2018 at 10:14 AM

Healthcare stocks Molina Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:MOH) and Humana Inc (NYSE:HUM) are both fresh off impressive quarterly results, and are trading higher today after receiving a flurry of bullish analyst attention. Let's take a closer look at shares of MOH and HUM.

MOH Could Feel a Short Squeeze

Molina Healthcare stock is up 1% to trade at $123.09, and earlier nabbed a record high of $125.01, after four brokerages raised their price targets, including a hike to $150 from $120 at Leerink. The bullish analyst attention comes a day after the healthcare name soared thanks to strong second-quarter earnings and revenue that surpassed analyst forecasts. The earnings beat sent MOH gapping higher, snagging its best day since May 2017. Overall, the security boasts a nearly 60% lead in 2018.

More bull notes could be on the way. At last night's close, 58% of brokerages covering MOH rated it a "hold" or "sell". In addition, the equity's average 12-month price target of $131.23 sits only 6% above its current perch. A short squeeze could also fuel an extended surge. Short interest fell by 2% in the two most recent reporting periods, yet the 7.80 million shares sold short represents 14% of the total available float, and more than 12 days of pent-up buying power.

Analysts Pile On The Praise For HUM Stock

Humana stock is up 1.1% to trade at $321.52, after seven brokerages issued price-target hikes. The highest of the bunch was Leerink once again, to $375 from $330. Similar to Molina, Humana stock jumped following the healthcare name's upbeat earnings report yesterday. In response, the stock raced to a record high of $327.44. The equity now boasts a 30% lead in 2018, and is historically one of the best stocks to own in August.

In the options pits, calls have held a distinct advantage, albeit amid limited volume. The equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) sits at 0.56 and ranks in the 5th percentile of its annual range, indicating calls handily outnumber puts among options set to expire within three months.

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