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

Benefitfocus Inc (NASDAQ:BNFT) was the recipient of a significant increase in short interest in the month of June. As of June 30th, there was short interest totalling 3,897,200 shares, an increase of 29.8% from the May 30th total of 3,001,800 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 505,700 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 7.7 days. Approximately 15.2% of the shares of the company are short sold.

Several equities research analysts recently weighed in on the company. ValuEngine raised VESTAS WIND SYS/ADR from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, May 9th. Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $60.00 price target on shares of Benefitfocus in a report on Wednesday, May 1st. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased their price target on from GBX 385 ($5.03) to GBX 480 ($6.27) and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 3rd. Wells Fargo & Co reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective on shares of Church & Dwight in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, July 1st. Eight research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the stock. Benefitfocus has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $51.92.

In related news, insider Raymond Alexander August purchased 3,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 13th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $31.15 per share, with a total value of $99,680.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the insider now directly owns 511,925 shares in the company, valued at $15,946,463.75. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, CFO Lou Anne Gilmore sold 1,019 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, July 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.89, for a total value of $27,400.91. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 34,133 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $917,836.37. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 29.00% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in BNFT. Frontier Capital Management Co. LLC increased its position in shares of Benefitfocus by 41.9% in the first quarter. Frontier Capital Management Co. LLC now owns 1,637,000 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $81,064,000 after buying an additional 483,700 shares in the last quarter. Rothschild & Co. Asset Management US Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Benefitfocus in the first quarter valued at $21,087,000. Laurion Capital Management LP purchased a new position in shares of Benefitfocus in the first quarter valued at $12,612,000. Marshall Wace LLP purchased a new position in shares of Benefitfocus in the first quarter valued at $11,546,000. Finally, BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Benefitfocus by 13.6% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,706,575 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $78,026,000 after buying an additional 204,222 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 98.59% of the company’s stock.

NASDAQ:BNFT traded down $0.70 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $25.47. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 409,919 shares, compared to its average volume of 447,103. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $27.02. Benefitfocus has a 52-week low of $24.74 and a 52-week high of $60.66.

Benefitfocus (NASDAQ:BNFT) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 1st. The software maker reported ($0.21) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.20) by ($0.01). The business had revenue of $68.30 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $67.77 million. During the same period last year, the firm earned ($0.26) EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 9.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts anticipate that Benefitfocus will post -1.6 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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