Universal Health Services (UHS) Lowered to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Universal Health Services (NYSE:UHS) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Universal Health is exposed to integration risks due to several buyouts and rising expenses over the years. Expenses have been escalating since 2013, which weigh on the company’s margins. Rising amount of debt also remains a key concern. Shares of the company have underperformed its industry in the past year. However, it’s top-line has been growing since 2013, driven by robust inorganic growth and a strong performance from both its segments — Acute Care and Behavioral Health. Acquisitions have also played an instrumental role in building Universal Health’s growth trajectory. “

Several other analysts have also recently issued reports on UHS. Deutsche Bank began coverage on shares of Universal Health Services in a report on Thursday, January 3rd. They issued a buy rating and a $140.00 price target on the stock. Goldman Sachs Group cut shares of Universal Health Services from a neutral rating to a sell rating and set a $125.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Thursday, December 13th. UBS Group assumed coverage on shares of Universal Health Services in a research report on Thursday, November 15th. They set a buy rating and a $156.00 price target for the company. Leerink Swann lowered their price target on shares of Universal Health Services from $140.00 to $135.00 and set an outperform rating for the company in a research report on Monday, October 29th. Finally, Morgan Stanley lowered their price target on shares of Universal Health Services from $134.00 to $130.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a research report on Monday, October 29th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $137.31.

Shares of NYSE:UHS traded up $0.06 during trading on Friday, reaching $125.73. The stock had a trading volume of 817,637 shares, compared to its average volume of 808,575. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.68, a current ratio of 1.09 and a quick ratio of 1.01. The firm has a market cap of $11.50 billion, a PE ratio of 16.70, a P/E/G ratio of 1.21 and a beta of 0.98. Universal Health Services has a fifty-two week low of $109.37 and a fifty-two week high of $139.63.

Universal Health Services (NYSE:UHS) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The health services provider reported $2.23 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.01 by $0.22. The business had revenue of $2.65 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.68 billion. Universal Health Services had a net margin of 7.89% and a return on equity of 16.33%. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Universal Health Services will post 9.49 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Universal Health Services declared that its board has authorized a stock buyback plan on Monday, December 17th that allows the company to buyback $500.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization allows the health services provider to buy up to 4.5% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, December 17th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 3rd were given a dividend of $0.10 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, November 30th. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.32%. Universal Health Services’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 5.31%.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of UHS. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its position in shares of Universal Health Services by 57.5% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 3,279,863 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $419,298,000 after purchasing an additional 1,196,760 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC boosted its position in shares of Universal Health Services by 16.9% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 4,123,674 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $459,542,000 after purchasing an additional 596,965 shares in the last quarter. Hexavest Inc. bought a new position in shares of Universal Health Services during the 3rd quarter valued at about $58,945,000. Acadian Asset Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Universal Health Services by 345.5% during the 3rd quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 558,838 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $71,442,000 after purchasing an additional 433,401 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Clearbridge Investments LLC lifted its stake in Universal Health Services by 313.7% during the third quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 534,952 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $68,388,000 after buying an additional 405,647 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 89.46% of the company’s stock.

Universal Health Services Company Profile

Universal Health Services, Inc, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates acute care hospitals, outpatient facilities, and behavioral health care facilities. The company operates through Acute Care Hospital Services, Behavioral Health Care Services, and Other segments. Its hospital offer general and specialty surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics, emergency room care, radiology, oncology, diagnostic care, coronary care, pediatric services, pharmacy services, and/or behavioral health services.

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