Universal Health Services (UHS) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Universal Health Services (NYSE:UHS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Universal Health’s shares have underperformed the industry in a year’s time. It 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. Nevertheless, its 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.”

UHS has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Morgan Stanley cut their target price on shares of Universal Health Services from $134.00 to $130.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, October 29th. Deutsche Bank assumed coverage on shares of Universal Health Services in a research report on Thursday, January 3rd. They set a “buy” rating and a $140.00 target price on the stock. Goldman Sachs Group downgraded 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 research report on Thursday, December 13th. Stephens assumed coverage on shares of Universal Health Services in a research report on Monday, January 14th. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $134.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Barclays cut their target price on shares of Universal Health Services from $135.00 to $130.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, October 29th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. Universal Health Services has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $138.19.

NYSE UHS opened at $131.97 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 1.09, a quick ratio of 1.01 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.68. The stock has a market cap of $12.21 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.53, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.29 and a beta of 0.98. Universal Health Services has a one year low of $109.37 and a one year high of $139.63.

Universal Health Services (NYSE:UHS) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The health services provider reported $2.23 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.01 by $0.22. The business had revenue of $2.65 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.68 billion. Universal Health Services had a net margin of 7.89% and a return on equity of 16.33%. On average, equities research analysts expect that Universal Health Services will post 9.49 EPS for the current year.

Universal Health Services announced that its board has authorized a share repurchase plan on Monday, December 17th that permits the company to repurchase $500.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the health services provider to purchase up to 4.5% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in UHS. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its holdings in shares of Universal Health Services by 57.5% in 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 buying an additional 1,196,760 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Universal Health Services by 16.9% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 4,123,674 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $459,542,000 after buying an additional 596,965 shares in the last quarter. Hexavest Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Universal Health Services in the 3rd quarter valued at about $58,945,000. Acadian Asset Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Universal Health Services by 345.5% in 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 buying an additional 433,401 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Clearbridge Investments LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Universal Health Services by 313.7% in the 3rd 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 and hedge funds own 89.46% of the company’s stock.

About Universal Health Services

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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