Zacks Investment Research Lowers WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (WCG) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE:WCG) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “In the last one year, Wellcare Health’s shares have outperformed the industry. The company’s robust inorganic growth is impressive. The recent acquisition of Care1st Arizona is expected to further help in growing faster. Its healthy balance sheet continues to support its operational and financial excellence. Wellcare Health has also been witnessing revenue growth over the last six years. The company has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for both 2017 and 2018 earnings being revised upward in the last 60 days. Following the strong second-quarter 2017 results, the company has raised its guidance for 2017. However, the company's rising level of debt not only increases financial risk but also hurt the bottom line. Continuous increase in the total expenses also keeps weighing on the margins. The company is set to release its third quarter results before the market opens on Oct 31, 2017.”

WCG has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Credit Suisse Group reissued a neutral rating and set a $163.00 price objective (up previously from $155.00) on shares of WellCare Health Plans in a research note on Thursday, July 13th. BidaskClub lowered WellCare Health Plans from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, July 28th. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group initiated coverage on WellCare Health Plans in a research note on Thursday, September 21st. They issued an overweight rating and a $204.00 price target on the stock. ValuEngine lowered WellCare Health Plans from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Finally, Cowen and Company initiated coverage on WellCare Health Plans in a research note on Monday. They issued an outperform rating and a $200.00 price target on the stock. Eleven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $177.93.

Shares of WellCare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG) opened at 168.31 on Monday. WellCare Health Plans has a 12-month low of $113.34 and a 12-month high of $184.88. The stock has a market cap of $7.49 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.57 and a beta of 0.88. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $171.27 and its 200 day moving average price is $169.45.

WellCare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, August 4th. The company reported $2.52 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.23 by $0.29. The company had revenue of $4.31 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.23 billion. WellCare Health Plans had a return on equity of 14.91% and a net margin of 1.66%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 19.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $2.23 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts predict that WellCare Health Plans will post $7.01 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other WellCare Health Plans news, CEO Kenneth A. Burdick sold 8,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $174.24, for a total transaction of $1,481,040.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 23,627 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,116,768.48. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Glenn Md Phd Steele, Jr. sold 8,374 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $171.97, for a total value of $1,440,076.78. Following the sale, the director now owns 5,722 shares in the company, valued at approximately $984,012.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Legal & General Group Plc increased its holdings in WellCare Health Plans by 9.1% during the 2nd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 58,653 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,528,000 after purchasing an additional 4,893 shares during the period. Artemis Investment Management LLP purchased a new stake in WellCare Health Plans during the 2nd quarter worth about $7,486,000. State of Tennessee Treasury Department increased its holdings in WellCare Health Plans by 25.0% during the 2nd quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department now owns 50,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,978,000 after purchasing an additional 10,000 shares during the period. Pacer Advisors Inc. increased its holdings in WellCare Health Plans by 3.2% during the 2nd quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 6,372 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,144,000 after purchasing an additional 195 shares during the period. Finally, Globeflex Capital L P increased its holdings in WellCare Health Plans by 155.8% during the 2nd quarter. Globeflex Capital L P now owns 16,449 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,954,000 after purchasing an additional 10,018 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 97.78% of the company’s stock.

WellCare Health Plans Company Profile

WellCare Health Plans, Inc is a managed care company. The Company focuses on government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs), to families, children, seniors and individuals with medical needs. The Company operates through three segments: Medicaid Health Plans, Medicare Health Plans and Medicare PDPs.

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