NHC reports flat Q3

Lower Medicare per diems and cost cuts offset

Nursing home operator National HealthCare Corp. posted a third-quarter profit of $17.2 million, even with last year's number. Per diluted share, earnings came in at $1.04 versus $1.05 in 2011.

Revenues at Murfreesboro-based NHC fell 4 percent to $189 million but a similar drop in operating costs and higher non-operarting income offset that decline. Company officials said the top-line drop was due primarily to a drop in Medicare's per diem rates but that a better patient mix helped soften that impact. They also said they are working to further cut their costs.

Shares of NHC (Ticker: NHC) closed Thursday trading up 1.3 percent to $48.24. Year to date, they're up 15.1 percent.