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

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 higher today making it today's featured health services winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.9%. By the end of trading, Aetna rose $0.70 (1.2%) to $60.97 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2,089,406 shares of Aetna exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,192,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $60.21-$61.11 after having opened the day at $60.21 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $60.27. Other companies within the Health Services industry that increased today were: Retractable Technologies ( RVP), up 10.9%, Bovie Medical Corporation ( BVX), up 7.5%, Trius Therapeutics ( TSRX), up 7.1% and Synergetics USA ( SURG), up 7.0%.
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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 $19.3 billion and is part of the health care sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 28.2% 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 negative front, ImmunoCellular Therapeutics ( IMUC), down 7.1%, Iridex Corporation ( IRIX), down 5.5%, EnteroMedics ( ETRM), down 4.0% and BG Medicine ( BGMD), down 2.3% , were all laggards within the health services industry with Catamaran ( CTRX) being today's health services industry laggard.

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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