Why Is Cigna (CI) Up 12.3% Since Last Earnings Report?

Zacks Equity Research
·4-min read

A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Cigna (CI). Shares have added about 12.3% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Cigna due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Cigna Q4 Earnings Miss, Decline Y/Y on Elevated Claims

Cigna’s fourth-quarter 2020 earnings of $3.51 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.1% and also declined 18.6% year over year. Results suffered escalated COVID-related costs

Cigna’s revenues of $41.7 billion beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.3% and also grew 14.2% year over year, driven by a higher contribution from its businesses, led by the Evernorth segment.

The company saw a decline of 472000 customers from the prior-year quarter in its medical enrollment to 16.673 million, attributable to lower commercial members.

Selling, general and administrative expense ratio was 8.5, which improved 80 basis points year over year on significant growth in revenues and cost-control measures.

Strong Segmental Performances

Evernorth Health Services: Adjusted revenues of $30.5 billion were up 19.4% year over year, driven by the insourcing of U.S. Medical pharmacy volumes and strong organic growth including a rise in retail network and specialty pharmacy services.

Operating income of $1.59 billion increased 3.4% year over year, reflecting customer growth, expanded adjusted pharmacy scripts volumes, benefits of effective management of the supply chain and a continued strong performance in specialty pharmacy services, partially offset by higher operating expenses to support growth.

During the quarter, Evernorth fulfilled 388 million adjusted pharmacy, up 19% year over year, driven by the insourcing of U.S. Medical pharmacy volumes and strong organic growth.

U.S. Medical: Earlier called Integrated medical, this segment was renamed in the fourth quarter and reported adjusted revenues of $9.73 billion, up 6% year over year, highlighting customer wins in Medicare Advantage as well as in the Select segment besides premium growth.

Operating income of $328 million declined 54% year over year due to the return of medical utilization to more typical levels and direct COVID-19 costs apart from the expenses involving strategic actions taken by the company to support customers and providers.
International Markets: Adjusted revenues of $1.54 billion were up 7.3% year over year, reflecting consistent business growth.

Operating earnings of $91 million were down 41.3% year over year due to costs incurred to support customers and employees, and investments made in the business for future growth.

Group Disability and Other Operations: Adjusted revenues of $1.28 billion were down 0.8% year over year. Operating earnings of $11 million plunged 91% year over year, reflecting elevated claims in Cigna’s Life business, primarily related to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Dec 31, 2020, Cigna completed the sale of its Group Disability and Life business to New York Life for $6.2 billion.

Capital Position

Cigna’s debt-to-capitalization ratio improved to 39 as of Dec 31, 2020 from 42.8 as of Sep 30, 2020.

Shareholders’ equity as of Dec 31 2020 was $50.3 billion, up 11.8% year over year.

In 2020, the company repurchased 21.9 million shares of common stock for $4.1 billion.

2021 Guidance

The company expects adjusted revenues of at least $1.65 billion and earnings per share of $20.

 

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in estimates review. The consensus estimate has shifted -14.5% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

At this time, Cigna has a nice Growth Score of B, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with an F. However, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. It's no surprise Cigna has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). We expect a below average return from the stock in the next few months.


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