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 $1.00 (-1.3%) to $76.98 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1,523,759 shares of WellPoint exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1,946,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $76.18-$77.52 after having opened the day at $77.34 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $77.98. Other companies within the Health Care sector that declined today were: ERBA Diagnostics ( ERB), down 10.2%, Electromed ( ELMD), down 10.0%, GTx ( GTXI), down 9.1% and Bacterin International Holdings ( BONE), down 8.2%.
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WellPoint, Inc., a health benefits company, through its subsidiaries, offers network-based managed care plans to large and small employer, individual, Medicaid, and senior markets in the United States. The company operates through three segments: Commercial, Consumer, and Other. WellPoint has a market cap of $23.4 billion and is part of the health services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 28.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate WellPoint a buy, 1 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 revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in net income, attractive valuation levels and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the positive front, ZIOPHARM Oncology ( ZIOP), down 29.8%, Oragenics ( OGEN), down 21.4%, Vanda Pharmaceuticals ( VNDA), down 17.7% and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International ( VRX), down 13.1% , were all gainers within the health care sector with Shire ( SHPG) 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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