HCA Healthcare (HCA) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

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HCA Healthcare (NYSE:HCA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday. The firm currently has a $140.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 12.00% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “HCA Healthcare’s shares have outperformed its industry’s gain in a year’s time.  Its top line has been growing over the last several quarters on higher admissions as well as improved payor and service mix. A number of acquisitions helped the company gain a strong foothold in the industry, fueling its inorganic growth. The company has also raised its guidance from its previous projections. A strong balance sheet and free cash flow are a couple of other positives for the company. However, its high operating expenses continue to weigh on the margins. The company is expected to witness a rise in costs due its constant growth-related investments, which in turn would not allow the debts to reduce, remaining a concern.”

HCA has been the topic of several other research reports. SunTrust Banks boosted their price target on shares of HCA Healthcare to $150.00 and gave the company a “positive” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 4th. Leerink Swann boosted their price target on shares of HCA Healthcare from $140.00 to $150.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 4th. Credit Suisse Group boosted their price target on shares of HCA Healthcare from $156.00 to $165.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 1st. Argus boosted their price target on shares of HCA Healthcare to $150.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, September 7th. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on shares of HCA Healthcare from $115.00 to $124.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $143.60.

Shares of NYSE:HCA traded down $0.31 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $125.00. 20,282 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,844,296. The company has a market cap of $42.37 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.97, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.08 and a beta of 0.52. HCA Healthcare has a one year low of $84.72 and a one year high of $147.42.

HCA Healthcare (NYSE:HCA) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 30th. The company reported $2.16 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.93 by $0.23. The firm had revenue of $11.45 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $11.29 billion. HCA Healthcare had a net margin of 6.82% and a negative return on equity of 73.71%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 7.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.13 earnings per share. As a group, equities research analysts expect that HCA Healthcare will post 9.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other HCA Healthcare news, SVP Jane D. Englebright sold 5,081 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $141.90, for a total value of $720,993.90. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 16,504 shares in the company, valued at $2,341,917.60. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, SVP Deborah M. Reiner sold 723 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $135.06, for a total transaction of $97,648.38. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 6,184 shares in the company, valued at approximately $835,211.04. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 16,763 shares of company stock worth $2,346,147. Corporate insiders own 2.80% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Bamco Inc. NY purchased a new stake in shares of HCA Healthcare during the third quarter worth $169,000. Glenmede Trust Co. NA lifted its position in HCA Healthcare by 164.9% during the 3rd quarter. Glenmede Trust Co. NA now owns 1,274 shares of the company’s stock worth $176,000 after acquiring an additional 793 shares in the last quarter. Signet Financial Management LLC acquired a new position in HCA Healthcare during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $137,000. Smithfield Trust Co. lifted its position in HCA Healthcare by 41.2% during the 3rd quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. now owns 1,405 shares of the company’s stock worth $196,000 after acquiring an additional 410 shares in the last quarter. Finally, First Light Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in HCA Healthcare during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $210,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 69.86% of the company’s stock.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides health care services. The company operates general, acute care hospitals that offer medical and surgical services, including inpatient care, intensive care, cardiac care, diagnostic, and emergency services; and outpatient services, such as outpatient surgery, laboratory, radiology, respiratory therapy, cardiology, and physical therapy services.

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