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 0.1%. By the end of trading, WellPoint fell $3.01 (-4.6%) to $63 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 5.7 million shares of WellPoint exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.3 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $62.85-$64.84 after having opened the day at $64.14 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $66.01. Other companies within the Health Care sector that declined today were: Peregrine Pharmaceuticals ( PPHM), down 19.9%, Dynatronics Corporation ( DYNT), down 12.7%, Atossa Genetics ( ATOS), down 11.9%, and Corcept Therapeutics ( CORT), down 9.8%.
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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 $20.04 billion and is part of the health services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are five analysts that rate WellPoint a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

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

On the positive front, Prima Biomed ( PBMD), up 22.7%, MEI Pharma ( MEIP), up 18.3%, Albany Molecular Research ( AMRI), up 12.8%, and WellCare Health Plans ( WCG), up 10.7%, were all gainers within the health care sector with Life Technologies ( LIFE) 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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