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Why Is HCA (HCA) Down 1.8% Since Last Earnings Report?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for HCA Holdings (HCA - Free Report) . Shares have lost about 1.8% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

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

HCA Healthcare’s Q1 Earnings Beat Estimates, Up Y/Y

HCA Healthcare delivered first-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of $2.97 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 28.6%. Moreover, the bottom line shot up 27.5% year over year. This upside was backed by higher admissions and revenues.

Quarterly Details

HCA Healthcare generated revenues of $12.5 billion, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.7%. The top line was also up 9.6% from the year-ago period.

Same facility admissions and equivalent admissions inched up 0.9% and 1.8%, each, in the quarter under review. Same facility revenue per equivalent admission grew 4.4%. Same facility inpatient surgeries slipped 0.3% against the same facility outpatient surgeries, which got nudged up 1.3%. Same facility revenue per equivalent admission rose 4.4% from the prior-year quarter.

In the first quarter, cash flow from operations totaled $974 million, down 24.1% year over year.

Expenses increased nearly 7.2% year over year to $9.9 billion.

Adjusted EBITDA totaled $2.5 billion, up 20% year over year.

As of Mar 31, 2019, HCA Healthcare ran 185 hospitals and around 2000 sites of care including surgery centers, freestanding emergency rooms, urgent care centers and physician clinics.

Financial Update

As of Mar 31, 2019, the company had cash and cash equivalents of about $531 million, total debt less net debt issuance of $31 billion and total assets of $43.4 billion, up 5.8%, down 3.2% and up 10.6%, respectively.

During the reported quarter, capital expenditures totaled $781 million excluding acquisitions.

Share Buyback and Dividend Update

HCA Healthcare has announced a quarterly cash dividend of 40 cents per share, payable Jun 28, 2019 to stockholders of record at the close of business on Jun 3, 2019.

In the quarter under consideration, the company bought back common stock for $278 million. As of Mar 31,2019, it had stock worth $1.9 billion remaining under its current repurchase authorization.

Acquisition Update

In the first quarter of 2019, the company closed the buyout of Mission Health for around $1.5 billion.

Guidance for 2019

Revenues of the company are now expected to range from $50.5 to $51.5 billion.

Adjusted EBITDA of the company is projected between $9.45 and $9.85 billion, up from the previous outlook of $9.35-$9.75 billion.

EPS is assumed to be $9.80-$10.40 per share, higher than the earlier projection of $9.60-$10.20.

Capital expenditures are still anticipated to be around $3.7 billion.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed an upward trend in fresh estimates.

VGM Scores

At this time, HCA has a nice Growth Score of B, though it is lagging a bit on the Momentum Score front with a C. However, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top quintile 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.


Estimates have been broadly trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. It comes with little surprise HCA has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.

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