Benefitfocus Inc (NASDAQ:BNFT) Sees Significant Increase in Short Interest

Benefitfocus Inc (NASDAQ:BNFT) was the target of a significant growth in short interest in the month of December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 4,540,000 shares, a growth of 8.6% from the December 15th total of 4,180,000 shares. Approximately 15.8% of the shares of the stock are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 336,500 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 13.5 days.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Bank of Montreal Can lifted its stake in shares of Benefitfocus by 153.7% in the 2nd quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 4,049 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $109,000 after purchasing an additional 2,453 shares during the last quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Benefitfocus by 4.9% during the 2nd quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. now owns 160,067 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $4,346,000 after purchasing an additional 7,506 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Benefitfocus by 4.1% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 113,078 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $3,070,000 after purchasing an additional 4,467 shares during the last quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board acquired a new position in shares of Benefitfocus during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $605,000. Finally, Northern Trust Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Benefitfocus by 1.3% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 347,426 shares of the software maker’s stock worth $9,433,000 after purchasing an additional 4,292 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 97.29% of the company’s stock.

Several equities research analysts recently weighed in on BNFT shares. BidaskClub cut shares of Benefitfocus from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 8th. Wells Fargo & Co lowered their target price on Benefitfocus from $42.00 to $40.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, January 8th. Compass Point began coverage on Benefitfocus in a research note on Monday, November 4th. They set a “buy” rating and a $37.00 target price for the company. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Benefitfocus from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 12th. Finally, ValuEngine raised Benefitfocus from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, January 3rd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company. Benefitfocus has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $39.55.

Benefitfocus stock traded up $0.50 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $21.28. The company had a trading volume of 2,533 shares, compared to its average volume of 265,861. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $21.29 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $23.92. Benefitfocus has a 12 month low of $18.99 and a 12 month high of $60.66. The company has a market capitalization of $631.88 million, a PE ratio of -14.24 and a beta of 1.30.

Benefitfocus (NASDAQ:BNFT) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, November 6th. The software maker reported ($0.23) EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.49) by $0.26. The company had revenue of $71.67 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $70.90 million. The company’s revenue was up 17.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted ($0.23) earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that Benefitfocus will post -1.37 EPS for the current fiscal year.

About Benefitfocus

Benefitfocus, Inc provides cloud-based benefits management platform for consumers, employers, insurance carriers, suppliers, and brokers in the United States. The company operates through Employer and Carrier segments. Its products for insurance carriers include BenefitsPlace, a transaction-oriented, marketplace solution; eEnrollment that provides online enrollment for benefits; eBilling, an electronic invoice presentment and payment solution; eExchange, a solution that bridges the integration gap between carrier and employer systems; eSales for carriers and brokers tools to organize and manage accounts, track leads, generate quotes, and create proposals for various products; and Core & Advanced Analytics, a data analytics solution.

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