Taking stock: Cracker Barrel's technicals; Columbia's no to CCA

Technical analyst Garrett Patten says he doesn't see much more upside in shares of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which have gained 5 percent (Ticker: CBRL) so far in 2015. The stock has in recent years dipped steeply after rising well above its 200-day moving average, he writes, and it could well be on its way to repeating that pattern.

This year alone saw two instances of this behavior, at the January and March highs, which deviated from the 200-day SMA 25.5% and 26.5% respectively. While price is currently only 11% from the 200-day SMA, the technical strength behind each subsequent rally has been steadily deteriorating.

Private prison operators are no strangers to controversy or to being the targets of protests. The latest chapter of that book was written Monday, when the trustees of Columbia University announced that the school's $9 billion-plus endowment will divest itself of private prison companies, including Corrections Corp. of America (Ticker: CXW). Shelly Banjo at Quartz has more here.

Jun 24, 2015 6:58 AM

Moody's lifts CCA rating

Analysts at Moody's Investors Service have hiked their rating on the debt of Corrections Corp. of America by a notch, saying the company is well placed to fill empty beds at its prisons and steadily grow its network of facilities without having to do much to its balance sheet.

Upward rating movement will be predicated upon continued growth in gross assets – providing improved access to capital and consistent operating results. Continued demonstration of positive revenue growth, operating margin and earnings trends coupled with steady leverage and coverage ratios are also key drivers for positive rating momentum.

Jun 12, 2015 9:19 AM

Corizon's big NY contract at risk

It's beginning to look a lot like prison health care company Corizon will not get an extension to its $130 million-a-year contract with New York City officials when the deal expires at the end of this year. The Brentwood-based company has been under fire in the Big Apple over the quality of its care and its hiring practices. Sources have told The New York Times that the city's public hospitals entity is prepared to take over operation of sites now under the care of Corizon.

In the next few weeks, the Department of Investigation is expected to release a damning report that will criticize Corizon for failing to properly screen the health care workers it hires and will suggest it may have contributed to injuries and fatalities at the jail, according to one of the two city officials.

Jun 2, 2015 7:04 AM

No criminal fraud charges against CCA in Idaho

The U.S. Department of Justice will not press criminal fraud charges against Corrections Corp. of America in connection with its operation of the Idaho Correctional Center, where employees falsified staffing records. An FBI investigation found that some lower-level workers had covered up chronic understaffing problems at the prison, which also has been the subject of litigation from inmates alleging poor conditions.

Olson said the review showed that some Corrections Corporation of America employees falsified staffing reports, but they were relatively low-level workers. No one at the assistant warden position or higher was aware of the fraud at the time it was committed, the investigation found.

Additionally, she said, the employees responsible for billing didn't know about the false reports, and since the prison company was paid based on number of inmates — not number of guards — there wasn't direct evidence that the fraud was intended for financial gain.

May 21, 2015 9:31 AM

Earnings wrap: CCA, Symmetry Surgical

Stocks of prison manager, medical equipment maker head in very different directions
May 7, 2015 11:40 AM

CCA chairman Ferguson to step down next year

Corrections Corp. of America Chairman and former CEO John Ferguson has told the company he'll retire from the board in the spring of next year. Ferguson has chaired the board of the prison management company since mid-2008, 15 months before he stepped down as CEO. Said current CEO Damon Hininger: "John was instrumental in the financial restructuring of the company and put CCA on a path of meaningful growth by investing in new capacity and solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of our government partners. John's leadership as chairman of the Board has served to further build on his immeasurable contributions to CCA and we congratulate him on his well-earned retirement."

Feb 25, 2015 12:44 PM

CCA hikes dividend 6%

The board of Corrections Corp. of America voted last week to lift the prison management company's quarterly dividend to 54 cents per shares from 51 cents. The move, which will go to shareholders of record as of April 2, will grow CCA's dividend yield above 5.3 percent. CCA shares (Ticker: CXW) at $40.55 and are up more than 10 percent year to date.

Feb 23, 2015 11:02 AM

Avondale analysts upbeat on Acadia, not so much on CCA

Avondale Partners analyst Paula Torch says investors should take advantage of Thursday's dip in Acadia shares, which came after the company reported its fourth-quarters and set 2015 targets. The latter, Torch noted, appear to include a good bit of noise — including the impact of currency swings from the company's new British operations — and thus likely caught some investors off guard even though the company is on track for more strong growth in 2015. She's keeping her 'market outperform' rating and $75 price target for Acadia, which fell 1.7 percent (Ticker: ACHC) to $63.65 Thursday.

Down the hall from Torch, Brian Hoffman has lifted his price target for shares of Corrections Corp. of America to $40 from $38 following the prison manager's better-than-expected Q4 numbers. But he's not upbeat about the company's prospects, noting among other things that several of its key government customers don't appear to be preparing to send more inmates to CCA. Shares of CCA (Ticker: CXW) rose 1.8 percent Thursday to close at $39.20.

Feb 13, 2015 11:33 AM

Earnings wrap: LifePoint, Acadia, CCA

Hospital and behavioral chains post strong same-store numbers, prison manager tops expectations
Feb 12, 2015 12:30 PM

Avondale: Look for CCA's Q4 top line to come up short

Locally based Avondale Partners analyst Brian Hoffman has run his channel checks for private prison managers Corrections Corp. of America and GEO Group and says CCA looks to have come up short of projections by almost 1,200 inmates. That, he says, should translate into a Q4 revenue shortfall of about $5 million, which would put CCA's top line at about $404 million versus Hoffman's estimate of $409 million and consensus of $412 million. Hoffman expects adjusted funds from operations — which he had forecast at 63 cents — should be hurt by a penny. CCA, which reports Q4 results Wednesday, was changing hands this morning at about $38.20 (Ticker: CXW) and is up slightly over the past three months.

Feb 10, 2015 12:04 PM