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Is a Beat in Store for HCA Healthcare's (HCA) Q4 Earnings?

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HCA Healthcare, Inc. (HCA - Free Report) is scheduled to release fourth-quarter 2021 results on Jan 27, before the market opens.

HCA’s third-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings of $4.57 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.10 by 11.5%. The bottom line also improved 138% year over year on higher revenues.

It witnessed solid patient volumes in the quarter.

Earnings Surprise History

HCA boasts an encouraging earnings surprise record. The bottom line beat estimates in all the last four quarters, the average being 21.67%. This is depicted in the chart below:

Here is what our quantitative model predicts:

HCA Healthcare, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

HCA Healthcare, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

HCA Healthcare, Inc. price-eps-surprise | HCA Healthcare, Inc. Quote

Let’s see how things have shaped up prior to the fourth-quarter earnings announcement.

Factors to Note

In the to-be-reported quarter, HCA is expected to have witnessed higher patient volume, likely contributing to its revenues. The consensus mark for the same stands at $15.41 billion, indicating an upside of 7.8% from year-ago quarter’s reported figure.

Other factors aiding its top line are increased inpatient admissions, outpatient surgeries, etc.

HCA Healthcare is likely to have gained from better payer mix of its commercial business in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter earnings is pegged at $4.55, indicating a rise of 10.2% from the year-earlier quarter’s reported figure. This upside is likely to have been backed by improved revenues.

HCA’s increased number of outpatient facilities might have provided a boost to patient admissions in the to-be-reported quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for admissions implies a 6.3% improvement from the year-ago period’s reported figure.

HCA Healthcare is likely to have continued with its dividend payout and share buyback plan, both of which were resumed earlier this year. This might have lent an extra cushion to its performance.

The consensus estimate for fourth-quarter patient days suggests a 6.4% rise from the year-ago quarter’s actuals.

HCA’s performance is likely to have suffered elevated expenses due to higher operating costs and substantial growth-related investments.

What Our Quantitative Model Predicts

Our proven model predicts an earnings beat for HCA Healthcare this time around. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP  and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the odds of an earnings beat as you can see below.

Earnings ESP: HCA Healthcare has an Earnings ESP of +1.07%. This is because the Most Accurate Estimate of $4.60 is pegged higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.55. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our  Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: HCA Healthcare currently carries a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Other Stocks to Consider

Here are some other stocks worth considering from the medical sector with the perfect mix of elements to surpass estimates in their upcoming releases:

Bausch Health Companies Inc. (BHC - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +3.24% and a Zacks Rank of 3, currently.

Community Health Systems, Inc. (CYH - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +23.00% and is a #2 Ranked player, presently.

bluebird bio, Inc. (BLUE - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +26.20% and is Zacks #3 Ranked, presently.

Stay on top of upcoming earnings announcements with the Zacks Earnings Calendar.