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Tenet Healthcare Corp. (THC)

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Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s (THC) second-quarter earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and the year-ago results based on growth in revenues arising from higher adjusted admissions, outpatient visits and surgeries, partly offset by a rise in bad debt. We subsequently raise of recommendation from Neutral to Outperform.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed in March 2010 is expected to positively impact hospital companies like Tenet Healthcare. It aims to expand the pool of insured patients, which should aid hospitals' bottom lines.

Overall, we believe that growth through the acquisitions, ratings upgrades and volumes can help boost the future earnings outlook. Our six-month target price of $6.00 per share equates to about 10.5x our earnings estimate for 2012, which implies an expected total return of 18.1% over that period.

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