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

WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE:WCG) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors 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.”

Several other analysts have also commented on the stock. Cowen and Company assumed coverage on shares of WellCare Health Plans in a research note on Monday. They set an “outperform” rating and a $200.00 target price for the company. ValuEngine lowered shares of WellCare Health Plans from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group assumed coverage on shares of WellCare Health Plans in a research note on Thursday, September 21st. They set an “overweight” rating and a $204.00 target price for the company. Cantor Fitzgerald reissued a “buy” rating and set a $195.00 target price on shares of WellCare Health Plans in a research note on Saturday, August 26th. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased their target price on shares of WellCare Health Plans from $183.00 to $184.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Monday, August 7th. Eleven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $177.93.

Shares of WellCare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG) opened at 167.68 on Monday. The firm has a market capitalization of $7.46 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.46 and a beta of 0.88. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $171.35 and its 200-day moving average is $169.45. WellCare Health Plans has a 52-week low of $113.34 and a 52-week high of $184.88.

WellCare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, August 4th. The company reported $2.52 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.23 by $0.29. The business had revenue of $4.31 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.23 billion. WellCare Health Plans had a net margin of 1.72% and a return on equity of 14.10%. The business’s revenue was up 19.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm posted $2.23 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that WellCare Health Plans will post $7.01 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. State of Alaska Department of Revenue purchased a new stake in shares of WellCare Health Plans in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $121,000. Advisory Services Network LLC lifted its position in shares of WellCare Health Plans by 8.4% in the 2nd quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 866 shares of the company’s stock valued at $155,000 after acquiring an additional 67 shares in the last quarter. Eagle Global Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of WellCare Health Plans in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $211,000. Neuberger Berman Group LLC lifted its position in shares of WellCare Health Plans by 1.1% in the 1st quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 1,539 shares of the company’s stock valued at $216,000 after acquiring an additional 16 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of WellCare Health Plans in the 1st quarter valued at approximately $217,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 97.78% of the company’s stock.

About WellCare Health Plans

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.

Analyst Recommendations for WellCare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG)

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