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HCA Healthcare (HCA) Gains But Lags Market: What You Should Know

In the latest trading session, HCA Healthcare (HCA) closed at $247.03, marking a +0.57% move from the previous day.

This story originally appeared on Zacks

In the latest trading session, HCA Healthcare (HCA) closed at $247.03, marking a +0.57% move from the previous day. The stock lagged the S&P 500's daily gain of 1.78%. Elsewhere, the Dow gained 1.61%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.95%.

- Zacks

Prior to today's trading, shares of the hospital operator had gained 2.16% over the past month. This has outpaced the Medical sector's loss of 0.46% and the S&P 500's loss of 2.63% in that time.

Investors will be hoping for strength from HCA Healthcare as it approaches its next earnings release. On that day, HCA Healthcare is projected to report earnings of $4.57 per share, which would represent year-over-year growth of 10.65%. Meanwhile, our latest consensus estimate is calling for revenue of $15.38 billion, up 7.58% from the prior-year quarter.

Looking at the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates suggest analysts are expecting earnings of $17.89 per share and revenue of $58.98 billion. These totals would mark changes of +63.68% and +14.45%, respectively, from last year.

It is also important to note the recent changes to analyst estimates for HCA Healthcare. Recent revisions tend to reflect the latest near-term business trends. As such, positive estimate revisions reflect analyst optimism about the company's business and profitability.

Based on our research, we believe these estimate revisions are directly related to near-team stock moves. 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. Within the past 30 days, our consensus EPS projection remained stagnant. HCA Healthcare currently has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).

Investors should also note HCA Healthcare's current valuation metrics, including its Forward P/E ratio of 13.73. For comparison, its industry has an average Forward P/E of 12.59, which means HCA Healthcare is trading at a premium to the group.

It is also worth noting that HCA currently has a PEG ratio of 1.21. This metric is used similarly to the famous P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also takes into account the stock's expected earnings growth rate. Medical - Hospital stocks are, on average, holding a PEG ratio of 1.49 based on yesterday's closing prices.

The Medical - Hospital industry is part of the Medical sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 120, which puts it in the top 48% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our 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.

Make sure to utilize to follow all of these stock-moving metrics, and more, in the coming trading sessions.

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