Zacks Investment Research Lowers Benefitfocus (BNFT) to Hold

Benefitfocus (NASDAQ:BNFT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Benefitfocus, Inc. offers cloud-based software solutions to consumers, employers, insurance carriers and brokers. The Company’s platform of products and services enable customers to efficiently shop, enroll, manage and exchange benefits information. Benefitfocus, Inc. is based in Charleston, South Carolina. “

Several other research firms also recently issued reports on BNFT. Wedbush reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $57.00 price objective on shares of Benefitfocus in a report on Wednesday, December 19th. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “positive” rating and issued a $61.00 price target on shares of Benefitfocus in a research note on Tuesday, December 11th. Royal Bank of Canada raised their price target on shares of Benefitfocus to $58.00 and gave the stock an “average” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 19th. Wells Fargo & Co raised their price target on shares of Benefitfocus from $50.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 19th. Finally, Raymond James raised their price target on shares of Benefitfocus from $50.00 to $58.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, November 30th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $49.27.



BNFT traded up $0.48 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $50.36. 297,175 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 350,022. The company has a market cap of $1.56 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of -63.75 and a beta of 1.19. Benefitfocus has a 52-week low of $21.75 and a 52-week high of $55.44.

Benefitfocus (NASDAQ:BNFT) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 1st. The software maker reported ($0.23) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.28) by $0.05. The company had revenue of $61.00 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $59.91 million. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned ($0.06) earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Benefitfocus will post -1.15 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of BNFT. Rhumbline Advisers lifted its stake in shares of Benefitfocus by 142.3% in the second quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 64,412 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $2,164,000 after buying an additional 37,823 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its stake in shares of Benefitfocus by 4.8% in the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 78,992 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $2,654,000 after buying an additional 3,648 shares in the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Benefitfocus by 4.0% in the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 115,895 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $3,895,000 after buying an additional 4,406 shares in the last quarter. GSA Capital Partners LLP acquired a new stake in Benefitfocus during the second quarter worth about $665,000. Finally, BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Benefitfocus by 25.8% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,344,893 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $45,189,000 after purchasing an additional 275,749 shares during the last quarter. 93.71% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Benefitfocus Company Profile

Benefitfocus, Inc provides cloud-based benefits management platform for consumers, employers, insurance carriers, and brokers in the United States. It operates through Employer and Carrier segments. The company's products for insurance carriers include Marketplaces, which are online shopping environments; eEnrollment that provides online enrollment for benefits; eBilling, an electronic invoice presentment and payment solution; eExchange, a solution for communication; eSales for carriers and brokers to organize and manage accounts, track leads, generate quotes, and create proposals for products; and Core & Advanced Analytics, a data analytics solution.

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