Universal Health Services, Inc. (NYSE:UHS) Brief Interest Update

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Universal Health Services, Inc. (NYSE: UHSGet a rating) benefited from a sharp increase in short-term interest during the month of May. As of May 31, there was short interest totaling 3,600,000 shares, an increase of 32.8% from the May 15 total of 2,710,000 shares. Currently, 5.6% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 703,100 shares, the day-to-cover ratio is currently 5.1 days.

A number of hedge funds have recently changed their positions in UHS. Allspring Global Investments Holdings LLC bought a new position in Universal Health Services during the fourth quarter at a value of $188,455,000. Nuance Investments LLC increased its stake in Universal Health Services by 150.6% in Q4. Nuance Investments LLC now owns 1,750,343 shares of the healthcare provider valued at $226,949,000 after purchasing an additional 1,051,850 shares during the period. Norges Bank bought a new stake in Universal Health Services in Q4 worth $92,187,000. First Eagle Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Universal Health Services by 14.0% in the fourth quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC now owns 4,099,131 shares of the healthcare provider valued at $531,493,000 after purchasing an additional 502,100 shares during the period. Finally, Invesco Ltd. increased its stake in Universal Health Services by 9.2% in the 4th quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 3,811,217 shares of the healthcare provider valued at $494,162,000 after purchasing an additional 321,368 shares during the period. 89.41% of the shares are currently held by institutional investors and hedge funds.

NYSE UHS opened at $105.44 on Thursday. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $128.52 and a two-hundred-day moving average price of $132.98. The company has a quick ratio of 0.98, a current ratio of 1.07 and a debt ratio of 0.71. Universal Health Services has a 12-month minimum of $103.68 and a 12-month maximum of $165.00. The stock has a market capitalization of $7.89 billion, a PE ratio of 9.24, a price-to-growth earnings ratio of 2.46 and a beta of 1.10.

Universal health services (NYSE: UHSGet a rating) last released its quarterly earnings data on Monday, April 25. The healthcare service provider reported earnings per share of $2.15 for the quarter, missing analyst consensus estimates of $2.47 per ($0.32). Universal Health Services had a return on equity of 15.06% and a net margin of 7.25%. The company posted revenue of $3.29 billion in the quarter, versus analyst estimates of $3.24 billion. During the same quarter of the previous year, the firm had posted earnings per share of $2.44. Universal Health Services quarterly revenue increased 9.3% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, stock analysts expect Universal Health Services to post EPS of 11.38 for the current year.

Universal Health Services said its board of directors launched a stock repurchase program on Thursday (Feb. 24) that allows the company to repurchase $1.40 billion in outstanding stock. This repurchase authorization authorizes the health service provider to repurchase up to 12.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually a sign that a company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, June 15. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, June 1 received a dividend of $0.20. This represents a dividend of $0.80 on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.76%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, May 31. The universal health services payout ratio is 7.01%.

UHS has been the subject of several recent research reports. Citigroup raised its price target on shares of Universal Health Services from $162.00 to $167.00 in a Tuesday, March 1 research report. Seaport Res Ptn reduced shares of Universal Health Services from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a Sunday, February 27 research note. SVB Leerink raised its price target on Universal Health Services shares from $136.00 to $139.00 and gave the company a “market performance” rating in a Monday, Feb. 28 research note. StockNews.com cut Universal Health Services stocks from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a Friday, April 29 research note. Finally, UBS Group raised its price target on Universal Health Services shares from $124.00 to $134.00 and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a Monday, March 7 research note. . Four investment analysts have assigned the stock a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and five have assigned the company a buy rating. According to data from MarketBeat, the company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $151.00.

About Universal Health Services (Get a rating)

Universal Health Services, Inc., through its subsidiaries, owns and operates acute care hospitals and ambulatory and behavioral health care facilities. The Company operates through the Acute Care Hospital Services and Behavioral Health Care Services segments. Its hospitals offer general and specialized surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics, emergency care, radiology, oncology, diagnostic and coronary care, pediatrics, pharmacy and/or behavioral health.

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