WellPoint Inc (WLP): Today's Featured Health Care Laggard

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

WellPoint ( WLP) pushed the Health Care sector lower today making it today's featured Health Care laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, WellPoint fell 69 cents (-1.2%) to $55.37 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2.8 million shares of WellPoint exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.3 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $54.79-$55.68 after having opened the day at $55.68 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $56.06. Other companies within the Health Care sector that declined today were: Palatin Technologies ( PTN), down 13.2%, Oxygen Biotherapeutics ( OXBT), down 11.1%, IntelliPharmaCeutics International ( IPCI), down 8.3%, and Alexza Pharmaceuticals ( ALXA), down 8.3%.
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WellPoint, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as a health benefits company in the United States. The company offers various network-based managed care plans to large and small employer, individual, Medicaid, and senior markets. WellPoint has a market cap of $16.87 billion and is part of the health services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 16.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate WellPoint a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates WellPoint as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

On the positive front, EntreMed ( ENMD), up 24.5%, AcelRx Pharmaceuticals ( ACRX), up 19.8%, Cormedix ( CRMD), up 19.1%, and Galectin Therapeutics ( GALT), up 18.3%, were all gainers within the health care sector with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International ( VRX) being today's featured health care sector leader.

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

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