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A Double Downgrade for WellPoint

Every day, the sun rises on Wall Street and a plethora of professional analysts wake to issue new opinions on stocks. Here at the Fool, we examine some of these picks -- and the track record of the firm behind them -- so individuals can make better investing decisions.

In addition to following professional banks, anyone can use Motley Fool CAPS to monitor the collective opinions of more than 89,000 investors -- many of whom actually demonstrate better investing insight than published analysts.

In the case of health-benefits provider WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  ) , enough CAPS investors have recently turned bearish on the stock to send it all the way from a five-star rank (the highest possible) to a less-than-stellar three stars. We can tap the various resources of CAPS to get an inkling of what's behind the sudden rash of pessimism.

CAPS investor TMFLuLu called it right on WellPoint -- all the way back in July 2007. "Look at insider trading and expense ratios, insiders are selling and the expense ratios are on the rise."

Earlier this month, management finally conceded that expense ratios could rise significantly this year, eating into profits. This and other glum news sent shares of WellPoint tumbling, making it one of the worst stocks for the day and dragging shares of peers Aetna (NYSE: AET  ) , Cigna (NYSE: CI  ) , and United Health (NYSE: UNH  ) lower as well. Turns out the entire health-care sector is looking a little paler these days, with insurers Coventry Health Care (NYSE: CVH  ) and Humana (NYSE: HUM  ) mirroring some of the woes WellPoint is afflicted with as well.

But with the nearly 50% drop in WellPoint's shares in the past three months, several investors see value in the stock at this point, even with the current pessimism surrounding the sector. There's plenty of bullish outlook from professionals as well, with even Warren Buffett holding a significant stake in the company.

To see what the very best CAPS analysts are saying now about WellPoint -- as well as other stocks they are panning -- head on over to CAPS and have a look. The community research and resources in CAPS are totally free, unlike analyst opinions reserved for paying clients.

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