For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – March 13, 2013 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include EPL Oil & Gas Inc. (EPL), Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (MDRX), Cerner Corporation (CERN), Quality Systems (QSII) and Athenahealth (ATHN).
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Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:
EPL Oil & Gas Upgraded to Strong Buy
On Mar 9, Zacks Investment Research upgraded EPL Oil & Gas Inc. (EPL) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
EPL has been using acquisitions to expand its presence in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). Continued increased production has been a boon for this independent energy exploration company, whose earnings are expected to rise strongly in 2013.
EPL reported fourth quarter 2012 non-GAAP earnings per share of 67 cents on Mar 7, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 47 cents by 43% and the year-ago profit of 39 cents by 72%.
Results were driven by liquids volume (oil and natural gas liquids), which was up 43% year over year to a record 13,516 barrels per day (Bbl/d). EPL’s output growth can be attributed to solid performance from its oil-weighted projects, as well as contribution from the Hilcorp property buy.
On Oct 31, 2012, EPL completed its previously announced acquisition of certain shallow water GoM assets from privately-held Hilcorp Energy GOM Holdings LLC for $550 million. The transaction will increase EPL’s proven reserves base by almost 100% to roughly 74 million oil-equivalent barrels (BOE), while boosting daily production by some 80% to more than 20,000 BOE.
The company expects the volume uptrend to continue and projects liquids volumes to hit 16,000–17,000 Bbl/d in the first quarter, going further up to 17,000–18,500 Bbl/d in 2013.
Based on the success of the company’s acquire-and-exploit policy, analysts are predicting strong earnings growth for EPL in 2013. The Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.29 represents earnings per share growth of 79% over 2012.
Allscripts Makes 2 Acquisitions
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (MDRX), a leading player in the health care information technology (:HCIT) market, recently revealed that it has taken over Jardogs LLC, a provider of patient engagement offering and dbMotion Ltd., a provider of community-based healthcare offerings. Both entities are privately held.
Jardogs provides a cloud-oriented patient engagement know how which facilitates team building among patients, doctors and others. The Jardogs FollowMyHealth patient engagement system permits patients to proactively manage their care and empowers buyers to gauge their health condition.
dbMotion had a strategic relationship with Allscripts since 2009. Allscripts is the biggest user of dbMotion know how. About 370 inpatient centers and 2,800 freestanding clinics use dbMotion know how. dbMotion makes available a system for population health management as well as healthcare coordination and utilizes data from disparate sources to create a record for patients.
The health care information technology market is competitive and price sensitive. Among others, Allscripts faces strong competition from Cerner Corporation (CERN), Quality Systems (QSII) and Athenahealth (ATHN).
However, optimism about the growth prospects of select HCIT service providers remains favorable under the Obama administration, which passed a Stimulus package in May 2009. The Stimulus package was aimed at increasing the use of electronic health record (:EHR) systems by medical practitioners. While greenfield opportunities are shrinking, the replacement market is growing.
We are of the opinion that acute and ambulatory care will continue to converge in future. Also, that Allscripts is positioned to provide integrated clinical applications for health care providers to satisfy HITECH Act requirements and eventually comply with an outcomes-based reimbursement system.
As a potential takeover target, Allscripts presents a lucrative opportunity for firms seeking entry into the HCIT industry. It has a wide user base and enjoys many opportunities vis-à-vis its peers. Its mergers with Misys and Eclipsys have expanded opportunities and reach in practice management (PM) and EHR markets substantially and increased cross-selling opportunities. We believe that Allscripts is well positioned in the fast growing business of selling EHR to physician practices as well as inpatient settings. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).
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