Is My Nose Bleeding? I Just Got “Einhorned”: CIGNA Corporation (CI), Ventas, Inc. (VTR), Herbalife Ltd. (HLF)

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“I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.” – Rodney Dangerfield

My name will never be used as a verb. First off, it’s much too difficult for most people to even attempt to pronounce. Looking at it, do you Americanize it? Do you go old school French-Canadian? What’s the proper tense? I’m at peace with it. Believe me, it’s quite alright.

October of last year, Greenlight Capital President and founder, David Einhorn presented his stock findings with a slick, well thought out PowerPoint display, cool music, but no fog machines. The Wall Street wizard offered some light fare prior to naming names, even joking about his own being utilized as a verb when referencing certain stocks. “Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) got Einhorned,” which actually sounds like it could leave a nasty scar, what with the “horn” delicately placed within his surname.

Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF)One of the stock mentions I found rather interesting from the Fonz of hedge fund managers, was CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI), which probably covered most of those who signed the Declaration of Independence.  To be unflinchingly honest, I never gave the company a second look until it was mentioned rather favorably by Einhorn. In light of the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act, everyone had some opinion on the healthcare sector, even yours truly.

I mentioned Ventas, Inc. (NYSE:VTR), prior to Einhorn’s stock laser show, and being a meat-eating, red-blooded, all-American male; I thought it would be a rather fun endeavor to embark on my own little fantasy stock steel cage match, since the timing was so fresh with our mentions. Also being a man of my word, I announced to my faithful following (all 15 of you), that I would keep everyone posted on this most public, potentially embarrassing stage, our own unforgiving Internet. Following a respectable showing in 2012 (up 16%), Ventas is already steadily moving ahead year-to-date, up about 2%. About a dollar under their 52-week high ($54-$68), I think the performance will continue the slow grind upward this year and beyond, breaking through the $68 ceiling a few times along the way. As I mentioned when I accepted my own challenge, Ventas clobbers Cigna when it comes to the trusty dividend, doling out 62-cents per share each quarter ($2.48 annually), for a healthy 3.7% yield. Compared to Cigna’s anemic, 0.1% dividend yield, paid in the form of 4 shiny pennies once a year for each loyally held share of stock, Ventas wins that battle.

Cigna had a very nice run in 2012, with the stock picking up over 23% in gains (almost 20% since Einhorn’s mention, though), and currently rides that momentum into 2013, up over 6% year-to-date. The company is nipping at the heels of their 52-week high ($39-$59), and will most likely pierce that number this year, but I expect it to gradually slow down, especially if Einhorn looks elsewhere for more substantial gains.

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