Shares of Healthways (Ticker: HWAY) are up more than 3 percent to about $13.70 in Tuesday afternoon trading, a sign that investors are buying into the company's promise that the second half will deliver some serious profit growth. That has taken them to their highest level since Aug. 1, 2011.
On a completely unrelated note, Healthways officials this morning put out a press release pointing to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that provided new — and quantifiable — links between people's well-being and their workplace productivity. A quarter of the more than 19,000 people in that study were able to lower their physical health risks and improve their productivity. The average gain to their employer: $468 per year.
Analyst Thomas Carroll at Stifel Nicolaus on Friday raised his price target for shares of Healthways to $19 from $13 after the Franklin-based provider of wellness programs reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss. Healthways shares (Ticker: HWAY) popped big Friday, regaining the ground they had lost over the previous six weeks. To get to Carroll's new target — which is the highest on the Street — the shares would have to return to late-2009 levels.
Analyst Scott Fidel at Deutsche Bank has lifted his price target for shares of wellness services provider Healthways to $10 from $9. Healthways (Ticker: HWAY) has traded above $11 for most of the past two months and hasn't been in single digits since Thanksgiving. Fidel rates the stock a 'hold.'
Analyst Ryan Daniels at William Blair has raised his rating on shares of wellness services provider Healthways to 'outperform' from 'market perform.' The move, which makes Daniels the fourth analyst to recommend investors buy the Franklin-based company, has given Healthways a nice boost in Monday trading. At about 2:20 p.m., the shares (Ticker: HWAY) were up almost 3 percent to $11.75. If they stay there today, it'll be their highest close since late September.
Avondale Partners' Kevin Campbell says investors should continue to buy shares of LifePoint Hospitals and has raised his price target on the company to $54 from $50. He sees LifePoint benefiting both from the big picture — the continued M&A activity in the sector and the rollout of insurance exchanges — as well as company-specific dynamics, including higher incentive payments related to the adoption of technology and up to $10 million in cost savings from outsourcing a bunch of back-office functions to HCA's Parallon division. Campbell's advice didn't immediately help investors, though: Heading into the final half hour of regular trading, LifePoint (Ticker: LPNT) was off almost 2 percent to about $43.10.
Healthways executives recently amended their revolving and term debt package with their SunTrust-led bank group to give them more time to lower the company's leverage ratios. Previously, the wellness services provider had until June 30 of this year to stairstep its way from a leverage ratio of 4:1 down to 3.5:1. Since last week, the banks' covenants say it has until March of next year to do so. CEO Ben Leedle recently said the first half of this year will not produce much growth at Healthways (Ticker: HWAY) but that profits should ramp come summer.
The fourth-quarter earnings and 2013 outlook provided the other day by Healthways executives have convinced Dougherty & Co. analyst Brooks O'Neil to lift his price target for the Franklin company. O'Neil, who has reiterated his 'buy' rating, now sees Healthways going to $16 instead of $12. Healthways (Ticker: HWAY) is changing hands this morning around $10.55.