WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (WCG) stock slips, “Hold” rating reiterated by Barclays PLC Analysts

WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) shares fell in early trading today on lower trade volume than normal after a number of analysts weighed in on the investing value of the stock and reiterated thier respective ratings.

Meanwhile, U.S. stocks edged lower Monday, with major indexes retreating from record levels.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.31% fell 48 points, or 0.2%, to 19,916, while the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.29% lost 5 points to 2,272, a drop of 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.03% rose 4 points to 5,529, a gain of about 0.1%.

Barclays PLC analysts reiterated its Hold rating on WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) in a note to investors, making it one of the more closely watched stocks on Wall Street. With a rating of Hold on the shares, the company has a 52-week high of $142.13. A number of other analysts have issued reports on the company recently, and WellCare Health Plans, Inc. has secured a consensus one-year price target of $139.60, lower than the opening price of $140.00. Typically, after analysts assign a “reiterated rating” report on a stock, they will subsequently issue periodic revisions, such as a price target change.

Yesterday WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) shares last traded at $138.58, a drop of $2.10 compared to the previous closing price. Opening at $140.00, they fluctuated from $138.20 and $140.01 throughout the day.

WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) now has a market cap of 6.14B.

WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) Average Daily Trading Volume

The stock’s average daily volume is 544,576 shares out of a total float 44,072,000 and some 21,926 shares crossed the trading desk yesterday, 32 percent below the norm. lower than normal. Look for trading volume to pick up in the coming days as swing traders often use swings in trading volume to identify heavy volume accumulation or distribution by institutional investors.

As with all potential breakouts, investors look for volume to be at least 40%-50% higher than normal on the breakout to show that fund managers and other professional investors are jumping in.

Institutional sponsorship is defined by ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

Institutional investors such as these retain substantial teams of analysts researching thousands of stocks, so it is good corroboration to see them taking a postion in a stock you’re considering.

WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) Moving Averages

A moving average can also act as support or resistance. In an uptrend a 50-day, 100-day or 200-day moving average may act as a support level, as shown in the figure below.

This is because the average acts like a floor (support), so the price bounces up off of it.

In a downtrend a moving average may act as resistance; like a ceiling, the price hits it and then starts to drop again.

By identifying trends, moving averages allow traders to make those trends work in their favor and increase the number of successful trades.

With that in mind, WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) now has a 50-day MA of $137.06 and 200-day MA of $119.26. It has traded in a 52-week range between $69.16 – 142.13 and today’s last price is 2.50%% lower than the 52 week high of $142.13.

Indeed, earnings growth is among the most important things to look at in regards to stock investing and, accordingly, investors seek companies that have increased their earnings by at least 25% over a 3 year period.

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