Short Interest in HCA Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:HCA) Rises By 12.8%

HCA Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:HCAGet Free Report) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest in the month of March. As of March 15th, there was short interest totalling 2,990,000 shares, a growth of 12.8% from the February 29th total of 2,650,000 shares. Approximately 1.6% of the shares of the stock are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 1,050,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.8 days.

HCA Healthcare Stock Performance

HCA opened at $333.53 on Monday. HCA Healthcare has a 12-month low of $215.96 and a 12-month high of $334.49. The company has a quick ratio of 1.02, a current ratio of 1.18 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 35.07. The firm has a market capitalization of $88.21 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.57, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.67 and a beta of 1.64. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $312.94 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $274.33.

HCA Healthcare (NYSE:HCAGet Free Report) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, January 30th. The company reported $5.90 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $5.05 by $0.85. HCA Healthcare had a net margin of 8.07% and a return on equity of 996.30%. The firm had revenue of $17.30 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $16.51 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $4.64 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 11.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that HCA Healthcare will post 20.49 earnings per share for the current year.

HCA Healthcare declared that its board has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Tuesday, January 30th that permits the company to repurchase $6.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to reacquire up to 7.4% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

HCA Healthcare Increases Dividend

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 29th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th were paid a $0.66 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 14th. This is an increase from HCA Healthcare’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. This represents a $2.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.79%. HCA Healthcare’s payout ratio is currently 13.91%.

Insider Activity at HCA Healthcare

In other HCA Healthcare news, SVP Chad J. Wasserman sold 344 shares of HCA Healthcare stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $321.97, for a total transaction of $110,757.68. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 2,452 shares in the company, valued at $789,470.44. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. In other HCA Healthcare news, SVP Chad J. Wasserman sold 344 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $321.97, for a total value of $110,757.68. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 2,452 shares in the company, valued at approximately $789,470.44. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, SVP Kathryn A. Torres sold 3,861 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $307.00, for a total transaction of $1,185,327.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 15,899 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,880,993. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 14,840 shares of company stock worth $4,588,869 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 1.60% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Inflows and Outflows

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Stone House Investment Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of HCA Healthcare in the 3rd quarter valued at about $25,000. Northwest Investment Counselors LLC grew its holdings in shares of HCA Healthcare by 92.9% in the 3rd quarter. Northwest Investment Counselors LLC now owns 108 shares of the company’s stock valued at $27,000 after buying an additional 52 shares during the period. BluePath Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in HCA Healthcare during the 3rd quarter worth $27,000. Centerpoint Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of HCA Healthcare in the fourth quarter worth about $27,000. Finally, Atlantic Edge Private Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of HCA Healthcare in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $27,000. 62.73% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades

A number of analysts have recently issued reports on HCA shares. Sanford C. Bernstein lowered HCA Healthcare from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and lifted their target price for the stock from $277.00 to $301.00 in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. The Goldman Sachs Group downgraded shares of HCA Healthcare from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $271.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Monday, December 11th. Raymond James increased their price target on shares of HCA Healthcare from $300.00 to $330.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 31st. Barclays began coverage on HCA Healthcare in a research report on Wednesday, March 6th. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $356.00 target price for the company. Finally, StockNews.com cut shares of HCA Healthcare from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, February 15th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to data from MarketBeat.com, the company has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average price target of $311.47.

Read Our Latest Research Report on HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare Company Profile

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HCA Healthcare, Inc, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates hospitals and related healthcare entities in the United States. It operates general and acute care hospitals that offers 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.

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