The Ensign Group (ENSG) Raised to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of The Ensign Group (NASDAQ:ENSG) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Friday. They currently have $29.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Ensign Group reported fourth-quarter 2017 earnings of 40 cents per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 11% and increased 33.3% year over year owing to higher revenues. Shares of the company have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. Its inorganic strategies consistently boost the revenue base. Its solid financial health enables it to enhance shareholders’ value. Following strong 2017 results, the company raised its guidance for 2018. However, it suffers from rising expenses that keep draining the bottom line. Moreover, an extensive use of debt continuously raises the company’s interest expenses, which in turn, hurt its profitability.”

Several other analysts also recently weighed in on ENSG. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a buy rating and set a $21.00 target price on shares of The Ensign Group in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. Cantor Fitzgerald lifted their target price on The Ensign Group from $23.00 to $27.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Thursday, November 9th. ValuEngine downgraded The Ensign Group from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 14th. BidaskClub downgraded The Ensign Group from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 5th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus set a $22.00 target price on The Ensign Group and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Friday, February 9th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $26.80.

The Ensign Group (ENSG) opened at $26.53 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.63 and a current ratio of 1.63. The company has a market cap of $1,365.90, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.91, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.04 and a beta of 0.81. The Ensign Group has a one year low of $16.50 and a one year high of $26.64.

The Ensign Group (NASDAQ:ENSG) last released its earnings results on Thursday, February 8th. The company reported $0.40 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.40. The Ensign Group had a return on equity of 13.87% and a net margin of 2.19%. The business had revenue of $487.70 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $457.91 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.30 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.6% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts anticipate that The Ensign Group will post 1.69 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 31st. Stockholders of record on Sunday, December 31st were given a dividend of $0.045 per share. This represents a $0.18 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.68%. This is an increase from The Ensign Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.04. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, December 28th. The Ensign Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 23.68%.

In related news, VP Barry Port sold 24,152 shares of The Ensign Group stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.24, for a total value of $609,596.48. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 143,014 shares in the company, valued at $3,609,673.36. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director John G. Nackel sold 2,000 shares of The Ensign Group stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.90, for a total value of $49,800.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 99,232 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,470,876.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 90,470 shares of company stock valued at $2,194,971 over the last 90 days. 6.20% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ENSG. Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its holdings in shares of The Ensign Group by 0.6% in the second quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 66,938 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,457,000 after acquiring an additional 400 shares in the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of The Ensign Group by 6.2% in the second quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 87,169 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,898,000 after acquiring an additional 5,080 shares in the last quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of The Ensign Group by 2.5% in the second quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 131,316 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,859,000 after acquiring an additional 3,205 shares in the last quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. raised its holdings in shares of The Ensign Group by 0.4% in the second quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 16,262 shares of the company’s stock valued at $354,000 after acquiring an additional 62 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Northern Trust Corp raised its holdings in shares of The Ensign Group by 19.1% in the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 747,571 shares of the company’s stock valued at $16,275,000 after acquiring an additional 120,113 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 84.27% of the company’s stock.

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About The Ensign Group

The Ensign Group, Inc, through its operating subsidiaries, provides healthcare services across the post-acute care continuum, as well as other ancillary businesses located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

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