Equities Analysts Downplay Anthem’s 2021 Guidance Slip

Anthem, Inc.’s stock value dropped roughly 7% in early trading on Jan. 27 after the insurer reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 financial results, but it wasn’t the company’s performance last year that triggered investor concern. Instead, the catalyst was Anthem’s 2021 earnings per share (EPS) guidance of “greater than $24.50,” which dipped below the Wall Street consensus of $25.37.

In addition to the stock slide, Citi analyst Ralph Giacobbe told investors in a Jan. 28 research note that “we fielded a number of calls/emails on [Anthem] as well as read-through for the group,” suggesting investors became skittish not only about the Blue Cross Blue Shield carrier but also publicly traded insurers in general. Jefferies analysts David Windley and David Styblo shared a similar experience, writing that “Inbound callers had expressed concern” about Anthem’s results.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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