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Universal Health Services (UHS) Down 4.5% Since Earnings Report: Can It Rebound?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS - Free Report) . Shares have lost about 4.5% in that time frame.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is UHS due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Universal Health Q1 Earnings, Revenues Lag Estimates

Universal Health reported first-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of $2.45 per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.4%. However, the bottom line grew 17% year over year.

Net revenues increased 2.9% year over year to $2.7 billion. However, the top line lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2%.

Total operating expenses of $2.4 billion at the end of the first quarter also increased 4.2% year over year.

Segment Update

Acute Care Hospitals:

Adjusted admissions and adjusted patient days increased 2.3% and 5.4%, respectively, from the prior-year quarter. Net revenues (on a same facility basis) climbed 3.7% in the first quarter.

Behavioral hospitals:

On a same facility basis, adjusted admissions increased 1.6% while adjusted patient days declined 0.4%, both on a year-over-year basis. Net revenues increased 3% during the quarter under review on a same facility basis.

Financial Update

As of Mar 31, 2018, the company had cash and cash equivalents of nearly $73 million, down 1.3% from year-end 2017.

Total assets were $11 billion as of Mar 31, 2018, up 2.4% from year-end 2017.

The company managed to lower its debt burden, evident from its long-term debt of $3.4 billion as of Mar 31, 2018, which declined 4% from year-end 2017.

For the first three months of2018, net cash provided by operating activities totaled $364 million, down 24.7% year over year. 

Buyback Program

In November 2017, the board of directors authorized a $400-million increase in Universal Health’s stock repurchase program, raising the aggregate authorization to $1.2 billion from the previous $800-million approved in 2016 and 2014. 

Concurrently, during the first quarter, the company repurchased 42,000 shares at an aggregate cost of $4.6 million.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in fresh estimates. There have been five revisions lower for the current quarter.

VGM Scores

At this time, UHS has an average Growth Score of C. Its Momentum is doing a lot better with an A. The stock was also allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Based on our scores, the stock is equally suitable for value and momentum investors while growth investors may want to look elsewhere.


Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. Notably, UHS has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.

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