Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Hospital Co. of America (HCA) to Sell

Hospital Co. of America (NYSE:HCA) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “sell” rating in a report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “HCA Healthcare’s continues to suffer from weak commercial business that has faced declining volumes of admissions over the last few quarters. High level of bad debts and disappointing international business are other headwinds. The company is expected to report first quarter results in May first week. An unfavorable Zacks Rank #4 and an Earnings ESP of -2.40% makes earnings surprise prediction difficult. Nonetheless, HCA Healthcare’s shares have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. Its top line has been growing over the past several quarters on strong volumes and improved payor and service mix. A number of acquisitions have helped the company gain a strong foothold in the industry.”

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HCA has been the subject of several other research reports. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $25.00 target price on shares of Hospital Co. of America in a report on Tuesday, December 26th. Mizuho initiated coverage on shares of Hospital Co. of America in a report on Friday, March 23rd. They set a “buy” rating and a $115.00 price objective for the company. Robert W. Baird set a $104.00 price objective on shares of Hospital Co. of America and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, January 12th. Morgan Stanley downgraded shares of Hospital Co. of America from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating and set a $85.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Wednesday, December 20th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reissued a “buy” rating and set a $115.00 price objective on shares of Hospital Co. of America in a report on Tuesday, January 30th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $105.95.

Shares of Hospital Co. of America stock opened at $98.73 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $34,189.09, a P/E ratio of 14.33, a PEG ratio of 0.98 and a beta of 0.47. The company has a quick ratio of 1.36, a current ratio of 1.62 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -6.58. Hospital Co. of America has a fifty-two week low of $71.18 and a fifty-two week high of $106.84.

Hospital Co. of America (NYSE:HCA) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, January 30th. The company reported $2.12 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.87 by $0.25. The company had revenue of $11.56 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $11.19 billion. Hospital Co. of America had a net margin of 4.89% and a negative return on equity of 49.49%. Hospital Co. of America’s quarterly revenue was up 8.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.80 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that Hospital Co. of America will post 8.7 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CFO Bill B. Rutherford sold 48,462 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $102.42, for a total value of $4,963,478.04. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 41,269 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,226,770.98. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, SVP Joseph A. Sowell III sold 58,175 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $95.00, for a total transaction of $5,526,625.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 40,536 shares in the company, valued at $3,850,920. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 479,918 shares of company stock worth $48,186,093 over the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 2.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Advisor Partners LLC raised its position in Hospital Co. of America by 13.5% in the 4th quarter. Advisor Partners LLC now owns 4,442 shares of the company’s stock worth $413,000 after purchasing an additional 528 shares during the period. Parallel Advisors LLC raised its position in Hospital Co. of America by 76.2% in the 4th quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 1,337 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after purchasing an additional 578 shares during the period. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. raised its position in Hospital Co. of America by 8.3% in the 3rd quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 9,502 shares of the company’s stock worth $756,000 after purchasing an additional 729 shares during the period. BB&T Corp raised its position in Hospital Co. of America by 0.8% in the 4th quarter. BB&T Corp now owns 100,788 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,853,000 after purchasing an additional 835 shares during the period. Finally, Hermes Investment Management Ltd. raised its position in Hospital Co. of America by 6.0% in the 4th quarter. Hermes Investment Management Ltd. now owns 17,562 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,543,000 after purchasing an additional 1,000 shares during the period. 73.49% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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Hospital Co. of America Company Profile

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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Analyst Recommendations for Hospital Co. of America (NYSE:HCA)

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