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Here's Why You Should Add Hill-Rom (HRC) to Your Portfolio

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Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (HRC - Free Report) has been gaining on robust international growth driven by sturdy performance in PSS and Front Line Care. The company’s progress in digital health looks encouraging. However, macroeconomic headwinds and a tough competitive landscape are concerning.

Over the past six months, the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has gained 16% versus the industry’s 1.6% growth and the S&P 500’s 16% rise.

The renowned global medical device provider has a market capitalization of $7.81 billion. The company projects 7.9% growth for the next five years and expects to maintain its strong performance. The company surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 27.61%.

Key Growth Catalysts

Demand Rises Amid Pandemic: The coronavirus pandemic has been wreaking havoc on the economy as a whole. However, Hill-Rom seems to be an exception. Geographically, in the fiscal second quarter, the company’s international performance was strong backed by a surge in demand for COVID-related products like ICU and med-surg beds, thermometry and vital signs monitoring equipment and also with the completion of some large projects in EMEA. Through the fiscal second quarter, PSS saw strong international growth driven by continued market expansion of med-surg and ICU bed systems across Europe and other markets. Within Front Line Care, performance continues to be driven by strong demand for patient monitoring equipment and accelerated recovery across key products as physician office visits return to pre-COVID levels.

Progress in Digital Health Space: Hill-Rom’s smartphone application, LINQ mobile, is currently available in the United States and Canada. Per the company, the platform has integrated Clinical Workflows with Nurse Call and clinical surveillance with monitoring systems to enhance care team communication and efficiency. Per management, this move is expected to have paved the way for additional market opportunity of around $200 million. To fortify its hold in the digital health space, Hill-Rom acquired the contact-free continuous monitoring technology from EarlySense in February. Also in early February, the company announced its intent to acquire Bardy Diagnostics -- an innovator in digital health and a leading provider of ambulatory cardiac monitoring technologies.

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Raised Guidance: We are upbeat about Hill-Rom’s raised fiscal 2021 guidance. For fiscal 2021, Hill-Rom now expects revenue growth in the range of 1% to 3% on a reported basis. This compares to the previous guidance of 0% to 2% growth.

Adjusted earnings per share are projected in the range of $6.00-$6.10 (earlier guidance was $5.70-$5.90). Operating cash flow is expected in the range of $440-$460 million. This compares to the company's previous guidance of operating cash flow of $400 to $430 million.

However, downsides may result from macroeconomic headwinds faced by Hill-Rom. As the company’s business depends heavily on general domestic and global economic conditions, economic turmoil is a concern for the company. The credit and capital markets have experienced extreme volatility and disruption over the past several years. This has led to phases of recessionary conditions and depressed levels of consumer and commercial spending, causing customers to reduce or delay plans of purchasing Hill-Rom’s products and services.

Also, Hill-Rom generates a large part of its revenues from outside the United States. According to the company, it is exposed to currency fluctuation. Unfavorable currency movement continued to be a major dampener during the fiscal second quarter and the company does not expect any improvement in this scenario any time soon.

Estimate Trend

Hill-Rom has been witnessing a positive estimate revision trend for 2021. Over the past 90 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its earnings has moved 4.5% north to $6.06.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its fiscal 2021 revenues is pegged at $2.93 billion, suggesting a 1.64% improvement from the year-ago number.

Other Key Picks

A few similar-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are Envista Holdings Corporation (NVST - Free Report) , BellRing Brands, Inc. (BRBR - Free Report) and Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, or LabCorp (LH - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Envista Holdings has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 26%.

BellRing Brands has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 22%.

LabCorp has a projected long-term earnings growth rate of 11%.