The number-crunching and back-testing analysts at Standpoint Research are again bullish on shares of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which have retreated about 10 percent so far this year. They've hiked their rating to 'buy' from 'hold' and have a target of $58. Cracker Barrel (Ticker: CBRL) is changing hands this morning at $48.90, down about 1 percent from yesterday's close.
Even though shares of Brookdale Senior Living (Ticker: BKD) have doubled since Labor Day, Goldman Sachs analyst Sloan Bohlen sees them inching a bit higher still. Bohlen has lifted his price target to $28, about 3 percent above where they closed Tuesday trading.
MedQuist Holdings’ acquisition of Franklin-based Spheris last year helped the company post a 29 percent increase in revenue in the fourth quarter. The medical transcription company — which now calls Franklin home — said Spheris contributed $29.9 million in revenue during the fourth quarter, while its total revenues were up just $24.7 million, to $110.5 million.
The company (Ticker: MEDH) accounted for the revenue trend by explaining that it’s been lowering prices for customers and shifting production and speech recognition offshore to ensure “higher customer retention and margins.”
Adjusted net income was $14.4 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, compared to $11.9 million, or 23 cents per diluted share in the year-ago quarter. Income attributable to shareholders in Q4 was $1.4 million, or 4 cents per diluted share, compared to $275,000, or a penny per diluted share.
Robert Aquilina, Chairman of MedQuist Holdings, said, “Through our industry leading platform, we are giving our customers the features, customer service capabilities, and cost savings they desire. Our higher volumes have enabled us to leverage the scale of our platform while also realizing the benefits of offshore resources and post speech recognition editing. The acquisition and turnaround of two companies in the last two years speaks to the success of our strategy with a five-fold increase in Adjusted EBITDA during that period and, most recently, the $7 million of synergies gained in the fourth quarter, or $28 million annualized, from the integration of Spheris. We will look to continue this performance in 2011 as well as organic growth derived from a relentless focus on new business.”
Add Deutsche Bank's Adam Sindler to the list of unabashed Tractor Supply bulls. Sindler has reiterated his 'buy' rating on the Brentwood-based retailer and hiked his price target to $61 from $55, which puts him near the top of the Street's range. Tractor Supply shares (Ticker: TSCO) are up about 11 percent so far this year and 84 percent over the past 12 months.
Meanwhile, Zacks Investment Research has lowered its rating on shares of Emdeon, which recently reported in-line Q4 numbers, to 'underperform' from 'neutral.' Shares of Emdeon (Ticker: EM) are up 13 percent so far this year.
Workers broke ground last week on Cool Springs Montessori, which expects to open its doors to students in July. The project is being backed by couples Sean and Kimberly Caley and Neeti Agarwal and Shishir Bhushan and will be able to house 90 children. H. Michael Hindman Architects designed the building, which is being constructed by Baron + Dowdle and financed by Franklin Synergy Bank.
“Our mission is to provide students with a quality education in a nurturing environment while meeting the needs of busy working parents,” explains Kimberly Caley, one of the principals. “At CSM, professional Montessori-credentialed educators guide children through purposeful and ordered lessons, encouraging a love of learning, problem solving and self-motivation. The CSM building was designed to easily accommodate 90 children from ages 30 months through lower elementary.”
Tractor Supply COO Stan Ruta — who in January announced plans to retire later this year — last Friday exercised more than 17,000 options granted to him in early 2009, when the retailer's shares were changing hands around $17. He then sold the resulting shares at more than $52, booking a profit of $730,000. Ruta, who has been with Tractor Supply (Ticker: TSCO) since 1994, is similarly in the money with another 17,000 options from the 2009 grant.
Shares of Delek US Holdings on Monday surged more than 5 percent to reach their highest levels since May of 2008. Investors continue to take kindly to the company's reiteration last week of its acquisitive ambitions, but also helping Monday was the impact of Japan's earthquake on nuclear energy sentiment, which in turn is lifting refiner stocks.
Nissan has announced a raft of management changes kicked off primarily by the retirement of its Canadian president, Mark Grimm. Closer to home, Vice President of Corporate Communications Scott Stevens has left the company and David Reuter has been promoted. Stevens was named to his post almost two years ago.
Two senior officers at Franklin-based insurer HealthSpring last week cashed in some of their chips by exercising stock options and selling on the resulting shares. General Counsel and Secretary Gentry Barden booked a $2.6 million profit on his sales, Executive VP Matthew Morris more than $1.7 million. Shares of HealthSpring (Ticker: HS) are up some 40 percent year to date and have more than doubled in the past 12 months.
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
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- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS