Universal Health Services (NYSE:UHS) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Universal Health Services (NYSE:UHS) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Wednesday, January 31st. They currently have $135.00 price objective on the health services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Universal Health has witnessed consistent growth in its revenue base on the back of solid Acute Care and Behavioral Health platforms. Over the years, acquisitions have also played a key role in building Universal Health’s growth trajectory. Although the shares have slightly underperformed the industry in a year’s time, its strong fundamentals are likely to favor the stock going forward. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised 2.5% upward over the last 60 days. The company is, however, exposed to integration risks owing to several acquisitions. Further, its highly leveraged balance sheet is a major headwind. Based upon the operating trends and financial results during the first nine months of 2017, the company has lowered its 2017 earnings guidance.”

Several other research firms also recently issued reports on UHS. Mizuho set a $137.00 price target on Universal Health Services and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a buy rating and issued a $126.00 target price on shares of Universal Health Services in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Citigroup cut their target price on shares of Universal Health Services from $126.00 to $114.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Credit Suisse Group cut their target price on shares of Universal Health Services from $126.00 to $125.00 and set an outperform rating for the company in a research note on Friday, November 10th. Finally, Stephens initiated coverage on shares of Universal Health Services in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. They issued an equal weight rating and a $120.00 target price for the company. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $131.20.

Universal Health Services (UHS) traded up $0.41 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $115.28. The stock had a trading volume of 915,989 shares, compared to its average volume of 792,123. The firm has a market cap of $10,941.11, a P/E ratio of 15.84, a PEG ratio of 2.32 and a beta of 0.88. The company has a quick ratio of 1.16, a current ratio of 1.26 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.80. Universal Health Services has a fifty-two week low of $95.26 and a fifty-two week high of $129.74.

Universal Health Services announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback program on Wednesday, November 15th that permits the company to buyback $400.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization permits the health services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 1st will be issued a dividend of $0.10 per share. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.35%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, February 28th. Universal Health Services’s payout ratio is currently 5.49%.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of UHS. Maverick Capital Ltd. boosted its holdings in Universal Health Services by 9.6% in the 2nd quarter. Maverick Capital Ltd. now owns 5,426,487 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $662,466,000 after acquiring an additional 473,763 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its holdings in Universal Health Services by 0.6% in the 3rd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 2,274,770 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $252,363,000 after acquiring an additional 14,573 shares during the period. Glenview Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in Universal Health Services by 15.1% in the 2nd quarter. Glenview Capital Management LLC now owns 1,973,545 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $240,930,000 after acquiring an additional 259,081 shares during the period. Jana Partners LLC boosted its holdings in Universal Health Services by 39.1% in the 3rd quarter. Jana Partners LLC now owns 1,891,986 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $209,897,000 after acquiring an additional 531,358 shares during the period. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its holdings in Universal Health Services by 3.3% in the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,863,023 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $204,430,000 after acquiring an additional 59,824 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 85.78% of the company’s stock.

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About Universal Health Services

Universal Health Services, Inc is a holding company. The Company’s principal business is owning and operating, through its subsidiaries, acute care hospitals and outpatient facilities, and behavioral healthcare facilities. The Company’s segments include Acute Care Hospital Services, Behavioral Health Services and Other.

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