Only LifePoint gets a 'buy' from wary Citi; Avondale still bullish

Citi analysts have launched coverage of various segments of the health care sector, including hospitals. They're not all that upbeat about the hospital space, giving most players a 'hold' rating. Only LifePoint Health merits a 'buy' in their opinion; they see its shares (Ticker: LPNT) climbing to $82 from about $71 today. Overall, the analysts say they are "more tempered" on the hospital industry because of doubts about the continued growth in volumes amid difficult comparisons as well as "unease around potential bad debt creep."

Locally based Avondale Partners analyst Paula Torch has been bullish on LifePoint for a while. In a note Friday, she reiterated her 'outperform' rating and $94 target and says a big part of the company's appeal is its success buying and integrating smaller players.

If the remaining $600M in announced acquisitions closes by the end of 2015, LPNT will have added ~$1.85B in revenue over two years. Given the size, quality, and improved infrastructure, we believe the class of '14 and '15 deals could add over $200M in EBITDA by 2018.

Oct 2, 2015 11:54 AM

Analysts start Cracker Barrel at outperform

Analysts at Telsey Advisory Group have begun covering shares of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store with a 'market perform' rating. They see the Lebanon-based restaurant and retail company's shares (Ticker: CBRL) climbing to $165 in the coming quarters. That would be up 13 percent from about $146 today.

Sep 30, 2015 11:14 AM

Avondale: AmSurg now a conviction buy

The team at local investment bank Avondale Partners has added AmSurg shares to its conviction list. Analyst Paula Torch says the company is having great success working its Sheridan anesthesia into its surgery centers, which is driving both the top line and profitability. She has lifted her EBITDA margin forecast to 19.1 percent from 18.8 percent and her EPS estimate to $4.15 from $4.00. And that's without the expected (and maybe more unexpected) M&A activity.

We believe there are plenty of deals to go around and the development team will go after what fits and what is financially sound. [...] In our view, while AMSG will likely strike on a deal that makes sense for them across their various service lines, we continue to anticipate more deals in anesthesia, radiology, and children's services, but believe there is appetite for ED deals if they become available.

Torch also has raised her price target for AmSurg (Ticker: AMSG), which closed last week's trading at $82.71, to $94 from $90. Her call comes less than two months after she hiked her price target all the way from $74.

Sep 28, 2015 8:39 AM

Analyst action: Tractor Supply, NHI

Seth Basham at Wedbush Securities is lifting his earnings estimates for Tractor Supply, saying the Brentwood-based specialty retailer should be able to accelerate its profit growth in 2016 after “somewhat of an investment year.” Basham has a price target of $100 for Tractor Supply (Ticker: TSCO), which opened Tuesday’s trading session at $83.91.

Mizuho analysts have hiked their target for shares of National Health Investors to $63 from $59 but kept their ‘neutral’ rating for the senior living-focused real estate investment trust. The move comes less than a month after the firm slashed its NHI target from $72. Shares of Murfreesboro-based NHI (Ticker: NHI) opened this morning’s trading at $59.01 and are down about 15 percent so far this year.

Sep 22, 2015 8:51 AM

Baird cuts Clarcor rating

Robert W. Baird analyst Richard Eastman has downgraded shares of Clarcor to ‘neutral’ from ‘outperform’ after the Franklin-based filtration products maker reported worse-than-expected third-quarter profits. Eastman also has cut to $53 his price target for Clarcor, which closed Thursday’s trading (Ticker: CLC) at $48.39.

Sep 18, 2015 7:51 AM

Keefe analyst likes Pinnacle's 'rich new playgrounds'

Keefe Bruyette & Woods analyst Jefferson Harralson says investors should step back into Pinnacle Financial Partners after the stock's drop from its post-earnings July highs. The downtown-based company has set itself up with "two new rich playgrounds" in Memphis and Chattanooga, he says, and he has raised his rating back to 'outperform' from 'market perform' while keeping his price target at $54.

Shares of Pinnacle (Ticker: PNFP) were up 1.5 percent to about $48.50 in early Friday-afternoon trading. So far this year, they've risen more than 20 percent.

Sep 11, 2015 12:25 PM

Avondale trims HealthStream target on ICD-10 dropoff

Analyst Peter Heckmann says HealthStream will struggle in 2016 to post the growth investors have become used to of late because of the expected dropoff in revenues from training products related to the new ICD-10 medical classification system. That book of business accounted for 17 percent of HealthStream's top line last year but Heckmann says that share will fall off to less than 4 percent by the end of 2016.

HealthStream's leaders are working to offset that drag — their Precyse DNA coding proficiency platform should bring in $2 million in sales this year — but Heckmann has nonetheless lowered his price target for the company's shares to $30 from $34 while keeping his 'market outperform' rating. HealthStream (Ticker: HSTM) closed Friday's trading session at $24.21.

SEE ALSO: CEO Bobby Frist earlier this summer discussed his team's plans to migrate to other products customers who came to HealthStream for ICD-10 services

Sep 8, 2015 7:09 AM

OSB pricing leads RBC to up LP

RBC Capital Markets analyst Paul Quinn has hiked his rating on shares of Louisiana-Pacific to ‘outperform’ from ‘sector perform.’ Quinn also has bumped up his price target to $19 from $16 for LP, which opened this morning (Ticker: LPX) at $16.06. Quinn’s main reason is the positive price trends for the Nashville-based company’s core oriented strand board products: He notes that prices have risen by double-digit percentage points over the past five weeks.

Sep 4, 2015 11:17 AM

Leerink sees big bounce for Acadia

Leerink Swann analyst Ana Gupte has launched coverage of Acadia Healthcare with an 'outperform' rating and a $90 price target that gives investors 25 percent of upside from where the shares (Ticker: ACHC) closed on Tuesday. She sees the Franklin-based company beating the Street's consensus EBITDA numbers both this year and next.

Sep 2, 2015 7:29 AM

Dollar General still attractive, says UBS analyst

Following Dollar General's second-quarter earnings report, UBS' Michael Lasser has taken a sanguine tone that is similar to that of a number of other analysts. In reiterating his 'buy' rating and $85 target for Dollar General (Ticker: DG), Lasser says CEO Todd Vasos and his team still have a number of ways to hit their profit growth goals.

From here, even if the company's algorithm rests on a longer-term comp that hovers around the 3% range, we think it can still produce mid-teens EPS growth with optionality to the upside. We would use the pullback as an opportunity.

Aug 31, 2015 11:38 AM