A.M. Best Rates WellPoint SecuritiesZacks Investmentupdated Dec 16, 2011TweetAt GET.com we maintain complete editorial integrity on our content & provide transparent & unbiased information. Companies don't pay us to include their products although we receive a compensation when you successfully apply to products from our partners. See how we make money here.At GET.com we maintain complete editorial integrity.Yesterday, rating agency A.M. Best Co. assigned ratings to WellPoint Inc.’s (WLP) securities that were recently registered through the universal shelf registration process. The rating agency assigned a “bbb+” rating to the company’s senior unsecured debt, “bbb” to subordinated debt and “bbb-” to preferred stock with a stable outlook. Shelf registration is a process authorized by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which allows a single registration document to be filed by a company for the issue of multiple securities. The proceeds from the securities’ issue are expected to be used for working capital, debt repayment, business development as well as other corporate purposes. The strong ratings are based on WellPoint’s significant global penetration, strong capital position, high liquidity, good operating performance and considerable cash flow. A. M. Best did not change the previously assigned ratings of WellPoint and its subsidiaries. In August 2011, the rating agency had assigned “bbb+” debt ratings to the company’s $400 million 2.375% senior unsecured notes, due in 2017 and to its other tranche of $700 million senior unsecured notes, carrying an interest rate of 3.70% and due in 2021. Besides, the rating agency had also affirmed the other debt and financial strength ratings of the company. The ratings by A. M. Best have boosted investors’ confidence, which is reflected in WellPoint’s share price. On Thursday, shares of the company closed at $64.50, up 1.54%, on the New York Stock Exchange. Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for WellPoint’s fourth-quarter earnings stand at $1.11 per share, down about 16.5% year-over-year. None of the 19 firms covering the stock revised their estimates in the last 30 days. For 2011, earnings are expected to be $7.08 per share, climbing about 5.1% year-over-year. WellPoint is the largest insurer on the basis of enrollment, beating competitors like Aetna Inc. (AET), CIGNA Corporation (CI) and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH). The company carries a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short term Hold rating, with no clear directional pressure on the shares over the near term. AETNA INC-NEW (AET): Free Stock Analysis Report Editorial Disclosure: Any personal views and opinions expressed by the author in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of GET.com. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.