Analyst action: HCA, Acadia

Analyst Brian Tanquilut at Jefferies has become the latest follower of Nashville's big hospital operators to announce a major price target hike. Tanquilut on Monday reiterated his 'buy' rating on HCA Holdings and told clients he sees the shares going to $45 in the coming year, up from $30. Like many of his peers, he sees positives in the many previously uninsured patients expected to make their way into the system. HCA stock (Ticker: HCA) closed down 1.6 percent Monday but is still up 25 percent so far this year.

Tanquilut said in his note that about 8 percent of the patients HCA admits are uninsured. But he cautioned that the amount of help the overhaul provides will depend on variables like the number of states that expand Medicaid coverage and the number of uninsured people who buy coverage.

Veteran local researcher Whit Mayo says Acadia Healthcare is still one of his favorite plays in the health care arena given its potent combinations of big earnings growth, money in the bank and "benign regulatory risks." The Robert W. Baird analyst has tweaked his price target for Franklin-based Acadia to $32 from $31. The stock (Ticker: ACHC) closed Monday trading around $25.50.