UnitedHealth Stock Drags Sector on High Medical Costs

UNH is brushing off strong fourth-quarter results

Deputy Editor
Jan 12, 2024 at 10:42 AM
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UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) stock is weighing on the Dow today, though the shares have pared their sharper premarket losses. The company's strong fourth-quarter results were overshadowed by higher medical costs, and other health insurers, including CVS Health (CVS), are trading lower after the report. 

At last glance, UNH was down 3% at $523.01, and dropping below its 80-day moving average, which caught the stock's most recent pullback. However, the $520 level, which has provided a floor since October, appears to be providing support. Since last January, the equity is up 5.5%. 

Over in the options pits, 18,000 calls and 10,000 puts have been exchanged so far, with overall volume running at six times the amount typically seen at this point. Expiring today, the weekly 1/12 230-strike call is the most popular, with new positions being sold to open there. 

Today's price action hasn't deterred a bullish brokerage bunch, with no analyst adjustments to be seen. Of the 20 firms in coverage, 19 carry a "buy" or better rating, while the 12-month consensus price target of $601.26 is a 15.6% premium to current levels. 


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