3 Stocks Slump To 52-Week Lows: WBMD, APOL, PCX

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of these stocks dropped to 52-week lows on Wednesday: WebMD ( WBMD), Apollo Group ( APOL) and Patriot Coal ( PCX).

WebMD

The health information company said Wednesday it anticipates acquiring 5.77 million common shares at $26 a share in a modified "Dutch auction" tender offer for $150 million.

"Expectations for Q1 are particularly weak, with flow-through suggesting management expectations for improved second half, albeit against far easier comps," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a report on Feb. 24. "Our revised Q1 2012 revenue estimate falls $13MM or 11%, to $105MM, versus 'at least $105MM' guide. For FY2012, our caution leads us to model to low end of guidance for revenue, EBITDA and adjusted EPS, where we forecast $517m, $114m, and $0.05 (revised from $0.39)."

Shares of WebMD hit a 52-week low Wednesday of $23.31. The stock's 52-week high of $58.55 was set on May 2.

WebMD has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 28.44 times; the average for publishing companies is 22.1.

Nine of the 11 analysts who cover WebMD rated it hold and two analysts gave the stock a sell rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives WebMD a C grade and hold rating. The stock has fallen 37.6% year to date.

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Apollo Group

"Apollo stated that the percentage of new bachelor's student going through orientation (transferring in less than 24 credits) is increasing and average transfer credits is probably declining," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a March 27 report. "Our concern is that students with higher transfer credits may be deciding to go to online nonprofit schools, where it is relatively easy to transfer in. Traditional universities with growing online enrollment (Western Governors, Arizona State and Liberty) are all also contending in the bachelor's completion market and cheaper than U of Phoenix. That leaves U of Phoenix with a student body that is less prepared, and thus more risky."

Shares of Apollo Group reached a 52-week low of $36.19 on Wednesday. The stock's 52-week high of $58.29 was set on Jan. 17.

Apollo Group's forward P/E is 11.25 times; the average for specialized consumer services is 14.49. For comparison, DeVry ( DV) has a forward P/E of 9.61.

Analysts were split on Apollo Group with nine of them giving the stock a buy rating and another nine rating it hold.

TheStreet Ratings gives Apollo Group a C grade and hold rating. The stock has fallen 32.12% year to date.


Patriot Coal

Davenport analysts wrote in a March 27 report that Patriot Coal Chief Financial Officer Paul Schroder "pointed to mild winter weather and low nat gas prices as the primary factor driving reduced coal burn and rising utility coal inventories. This has already led to some production cuts. But more may be coming."

Shares of Patriot Coal dropped to a 52-week low of $5.85. The stock's 52-week high of $27.56 was set one year ago.

Sixteen of the 22 analysts who cover Patriot Coal rated it hold. Four analysts gave the stock a buy rating and two rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Patriot Coal a D grade and sell rating. The stock has fallen 30.58% year to date.

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-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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