LifePoint Hospitals Inc. (LPNT) Shares Slip, Investors Watching Closely, Here is Why

LifePoint Hospitals Inc. (NASDAQ: LPNT) shares rose on Thursday Dec 1 with lower trade volume than normal after a number of analysts weighed in on the investing value of the stock with a downgraded rating.

Meanwhile, U.S. stocks opened with slight gains on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.31% rose 38.22 points, or 0.2%, to 19,174, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.01% added 2.1 points to 2,202, a rise of 0.1%.

The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.32% rose less than 1 point to 5,323, essentially unchanged on the day.
Analysts at Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of LifePoint Hospitals Inc. (NASDAQ: LPNT) from Buy to Hold in a research note to investors today. With a rating of Hold on the shares, the company has a 52-week high of $75.94. A number of other analysts have issued reports on the company in recent days, and the company has secured a consensus one-year price target of $65.94, higher than the opening price of $55.25. Important and fundamental digressions in the company’s actions, future direction or industry can cause downgrades as the analysts feel that the future prospects for the security have diminished from the original recommendation.

LifePoint Hospitals Inc. (NASDAQ: LPNT) shares last traded at $55.70, which is an increase of $0.75 or 1.36% over the previous closing price. Opening at $55.25, they fluctuated from $55.25 and $56.00 throughout the day.

LifePoint Hospitals Inc. (NASDAQ: LPNT) currently has a market cap of 2.24B.

LifePoint Hospitals Inc. (NASDAQ: LPNT) Average Daily Trading Volume

The stock’s average daily volume is 536,912 shares out of a total float 36,275,000 and some 48,590 shares traded hands yesterday, lower than the average. Look for trading volume to pick up in the coming days as swing traders often use swings in trading volume to determine substantial volume growth or circulation by institutional investors.

However, just a day of heavy buy side trading is not enough to assert a trend. As such, market traders will continue to watch for institutional sponsorship as a cue that financial institutions are moving forward.

Institutional sponsorship simply refers to ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

Professional investors such as these have teams of analysts researching thousands of stocks. So watching their interests is a good way to make sure you are buying the right stocks.

LifePoint Hospitals Inc. (NASDAQ: LPNT) Moving Averages

A moving average can also act as support or resistance. In an uptrend a 50-day, 100-day or 200-day moving average may act as a support level, as shown in the figure below.

This is because the average acts like a floor (support), so the price bounces up off of it.

In a downtrend a moving average may act as resistance; like a ceiling, the price hits it and then starts to drop again.

By identifying trends, moving averages allow investors to make those trends work in their favor and increase the number of successful trades.

Trades for LifePoint Hospitals Inc. (NASDAQ: LPNT) have ranged from $50.60 – 75.94, and the stock now has a 50-day MA of $58.34 and 200-day MA of $61.19. Today’s last price is 26.65%% lower than the 52 week high of $75.94.

Earnings growth is a crucial factor to consider when buying stocks and investors identify companies that have increased their earnings by at least 25% for a 3 year period.

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