Investment giant BlackRock likes the AmSurg story if its latest holdings report is anything go by. At the end of 2013, the firm owned 2.9 million shares of Nashville-based AmSurg, which amounts to 9 percent. A year ago — when AmSurg shares (Ticker: AMSG) were trading more than 30 percent lower than they are now — that stake was 7.8 percent.
Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Sankey has upgraded his rating on shares of Delek US Holdings to 'buy' from 'hold' and hiked his price target to $40 from $30. Sankey, who also upgraded other refining plays, has grown more bullish on the company given the excess supply of light sweet crude. Investor sentiment toward refiners has swung in recent weeks, with Delek (Ticker: DK) popping 30 percent in the past month.
Over at Sidoti, analysts have begun covering shares of AmSurg with a 'neutral' rating and a price target of $48, about $2 above the company's Monday open. AmSurg (Ticker: AMSG) has risen 6 percent in the past month and is up more than 50 percent in 2013.
Analysts at both Stifel Nicolaus and JMP Securities have hiked their rating on shares of National Health Investors to 'buy' from 'hold.' The JMP team now has a price target of $65 on the stock. The real estate investment trust is in the process of buying 25 properties for almost $500 million and both Stifel and JMP are helping manage a stock offering to help fund the deal. NHI shares (Ticker: NHI) ended Monday trading at $59.27 and are up slightly so far this year.
Over at Barclays, analysts have begun covering shares of ambulatory surgery center operator AmSurg. They have rated the stock 'equalweight' and see it climbing about 10 percent to $52. So far this year, AmSurg (Ticker: AMSG) is up more than 50 percent.
Reuters says private-equity firm Crestview Partners is ready to cash in on its six-year-old investment in local ambulatory surgery center chain Symbion. The Burton Hills-based company could fetch as much as $800 million, sources say, which would be about 10 times its expected 2013 EBITDA. Through the first nine months of this year, Symbion posted operating income of $54.4 million, down 13 percent from a year ago.
We're a few weeks away from the opening up of many new insurance exchanges under the umbrella of health care reform, and it looks like investors' expectations are being dialed down a good bit. Citigroup analysts Gary Taylor and Carl McDonald said this morning that the market is counting on about 4 million people signing up for health insurance in the coming months. That's down from the 7 million projected earlier this year by the Congressional Budget Office. But Taylor and McDonald say any perceived shortfall could become an opportunity to snap up shares of HCA (Ticker: HCA) more cheaply than today.
Also on the health care spending front, Moody's analyst Ron Neysmith said size is becoming increasingly important in the ambulatory surgery space, which favors Nashville-based AmSurg (Ticker: AMSG) and Symbion, among others. Surgery centers' relatively low overhead and lower reimbursement rates have made them more attractive to insurers paying the bills, Neysmith writes, and have allowed the industry's volumes to easily outpace those of the hospital sector. There are some bumps ahead in terms of payment changes, he adds, but the fundamentals are in place for solid long-term growth.
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