WellCare Health Plans Inc. (WCG): Today's Featured Health Services Laggard

WellCare Health Plans ( WCG) pushed the Health Services industry lower today making it today's featured Health Services laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.8%. By the end of trading, WellCare Health Plans fell $7.26 (-11.6%) to $55.12 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 4.2 million shares of WellCare Health Plans exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of one million shares. The stock ranged in price between $54.57-$61.94 after having opened the day at $61.67 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $62.38. Other company's within the Health Services industry that declined today were: Health Net ( HNT), down 15.8%, Assisted Living Concepts ( ALC), down 8.5%, CAS Medical Systems ( CASM), down 8.1%, and BioMimetic Therapeutics ( BMTI), down 7.2%.

WellCare Health Plans, Inc. provides managed care services for government-sponsored health care programs in the United States. WellCare Health Plans has a market cap of $2.74 billion and is part of the health care sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.4, equal to the average health services industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 21% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are three analysts that rate WellCare Health Plans a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates WellCare Health Plans as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the positive front, Sunrise Senior Living ( SRZ), up 15.2%, Kips Bay Medical ( KIPS), up 13.2%, ResMed ( RMD), up 12%, and IMRIS ( IMRS), up 12%, were all gainers within the health services industry with Express Scripts ( ESRX) being today's featured health services industry leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the health services industry could consider Health Care Select Sector SPDR ( XLV) while those bearish on the health services industry could consider ProShares Ultra Short Health Care ( RXD).