WellPoint Inc Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (WLP)

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.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- WellPoint (NYSE: WLP) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of A-. 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.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • WLP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 13.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.61, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. To add to this, WLP has a quick ratio of 1.66, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Health Care Providers & Services industry average. The net income increased by 3.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $856.50 million to $885.20 million.
  • The stock price has risen over the past year, but, despite its earnings growth and some other positive factors, it has underperformed the S&P 500 so far. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.

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 $23.1 billion and is part of the health care sector and health services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.00, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 18.00. Shares are up 27.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

You can view the full WellPoint Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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