In the latest trading session, HCA Holdings (HCA - Free Report) closed at $124.44, marking a +0.85% move from the previous day. The stock outpaced the S&P 500's daily gain of 0.7%. Meanwhile, the Dow gained 0.42%, and the Nasdaq, a tech-heavy index, added 1.26%.
Heading into today, shares of the hospital operator had lost 12.4% over the past month, lagging the Medical sector's loss of 6.76% and the S&P 500's loss of 6.13% in that time.
Investors will be hoping for strength from HCA as it approaches its next earnings release, which is expected to be January 29, 2019. The company is expected to report EPS of $2.59, up 22.17% from the prior-year quarter. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue is projecting net sales of $12.16 billion, up 5.2% from the year-ago period.
Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for HCA. These revisions typically reflect the latest short-term business trends, which can change frequently. As a result, we can interpret positive estimate revisions as a good sign for the company's business outlook.
Research indicates that these estimate revisions are directly correlated with near-term share price momentum. We developed the Zacks Rank to capitalize on this phenomenon. Our system takes these estimate changes into account and delivers a clear, actionable rating model.
The Zacks Rank system ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell). It has a remarkable, outside-audited track record of success, with #1 stocks delivering an average annual return of +25% since 1988. The Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 0.14% higher within the past month. HCA is currently a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Digging into valuation, HCA currently has a Forward P/E ratio of 12.19. For comparison, its industry has an average Forward P/E of 10.81, which means HCA is trading at a premium to the group.
Investors should also note that HCA has a PEG ratio of 1 right now. This popular metric is similar to the widely-known P/E ratio, with the difference being that the PEG ratio also takes into account the company's expected earnings growth rate. HCA's industry had an average PEG ratio of 1 as of yesterday's close.
The Medical - Hospital industry is part of the Medical sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 186, which puts it in the bottom 27% of all 250+ industries.
The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our individual industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.
You can find more information on all of these metrics, and much more, on Zacks.com.