Aetna Inc (AET): Today's Featured Health Services 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

Aetna ( AET) pushed the Health Services industry lower today making it today's featured Health Services laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.7%. By the end of trading, Aetna fell $0.70 (-1.2%) to $59.68 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2,979,734 shares of Aetna exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,186,200 shares. The stock ranged in price between $59.26-$60.66 after having opened the day at $60.66 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $60.38. Other companies within the Health Services industry that declined today were: Biolase ( BIOL), down 5.7%, MiMedx Group ( MDXG), down 5.0%, Mine Safety Appliances ( MSA), down 4.7% and Strategic Diagnostics ( SDIX), down 4.6%.
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Aetna Inc. operates as a diversified health care benefits company in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Health Care, Group Insurance, and Large Case Pensions. Aetna has a market cap of $20.4 billion and is part of the health care sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 30.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Aetna a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Aetna as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the positive front, Unilife Corporation ( UNIS), down 15.7%, Bovie Medical Corporation ( BVX), down 11.8%, Lakeland Industries ( LAKE), down 11.5% and Healthways ( HWAY), down 10.5% , were all gainers within the health services industry with Medtronic ( MDT) 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).

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