How Will WellPoint (WLP) Stock React To Barron's Endorsement?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- WellPoint Inc. (WLP) received a ringing endorsement this morning from Barron's which said that "many investors feared that Obamacare would sink [the] health insurer. It hasn't turned out that way. Instead, the nation's largest provider of Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans seems to be thriving under the program, setting up successful health exchanges and helping states expand their Medicaid services."

In part, the article continued, the "market is starting to catch on, and shares of WellPoint have climbed roughly 40% over the past 12 months, besting gains by rivals such as Cigna  (CI), Aetna (AET) and UnitedHealth Group (UNH).

"Still, at $108, shares are trading hands for less than 12 times 2015 earnings estimates, a steep discount to the managed-care industry as well as the broader stock market."

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The stock is currently flat at $108.59.
TheStreet Ratings team rates WELLPOINT INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate WELLPOINT INC (WLP) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, 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 sub par growth in net income."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, WLP's share price has jumped by 39.16%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, WLP should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • WLP's revenue growth trails the industry average of 16.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.6%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.62, 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 1.58, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,387.50 million or 44.99% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, WELLPOINT INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 37.05%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: WLP Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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