WellPoint (WLP) Stock Higher Today After Increasing Forecast

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of WellPoint  (WLP) are up 0.19% to $120.23 in pre-market trade after the health insurer increased its forecasts for profit and membership of its medical plans as earnings beat estimates, Bloomberg reports.

Third-quarter earnings per share excluding one-time items were $2.36, the company said, beating the $2.26 average of 22 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. On that basis the company raised its full-year earnings forecast to a range of $8.75 to $8.85 a share, from a previous estimate of over $8.60.

WellPoint and other insurers are adding customers as people buy insurance through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the law that requires all Americans to have health insurance and provides subsidies and online shopping markets for them to do so. The insurer said medical enrollment climbed by 259,000 in the quarter, Bloomberg said.

Medical membership for the full year will be in the range of 37.2 million to 37.3 million, WellPoint said, compared with an earlier forecast of 37.1 million to 37.2 million.

Third-quarter net income slid to $630.9 million, or $2.22 per share, from $656.2 million, or $2.16, a year earlier.

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 revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."


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