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WellCare Health Plans (WCG) Gains As Market Dips: What You Should Know

Zacks Equity Research

In the latest trading session, WellCare Health Plans (WCG) closed at $331.30, marking a +0.28% move from the previous day. This change outpaced the S&P 500's 0.02% loss on the day. Elsewhere, the Dow lost 0.13%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.08%.

Coming into today, shares of the Medicare and Medicaid coverage provider had gained 1.95% in the past month. In that same time, the Medical sector gained 5.88%, while the S&P 500 gained 3.81%.

WCG will be looking to display strength as it nears its next earnings release. The company is expected to report EPS of $2.18, up 33.74% from the prior-year quarter. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $7.10 billion, up 16.92% from the year-ago period.

Looking at the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates suggest analysts are expecting earnings of $15.69 per share and revenue of $27.66 billion. These totals would mark changes of +42.25% and +35.5%, respectively, from last year.

It is also important to note the recent changes to analyst estimates for WCG. Recent revisions tend to reflect the latest near-term business trends. With this in mind, we can consider positive estimate revisions a sign of optimism about the company's business outlook.

Our research shows that these estimate changes are directly correlated with near-term stock prices. To benefit from this, we have developed the Zacks Rank, a proprietary model which takes these estimate changes into account and provides an actionable rating system.

The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 1.72% higher. WCG is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).

Digging into valuation, WCG currently has a Forward P/E ratio of 21.06. Its industry sports an average Forward P/E of 20.1, so we one might conclude that WCG is trading at a premium comparatively.

Also, we should mention that WCG has a PEG ratio of 1.44. This metric is used similarly to the famous P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also takes into account the stock's expected earnings growth rate. The Medical - HMOs industry currently had an average PEG ratio of 1.26 as of yesterday's close.

The Medical - HMOs industry is part of the Medical sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 102, putting it in the top 40% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our individual industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.

To follow WCG in the coming trading sessions, be sure to utilize Zacks.com.

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