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Universal Health Services (UHS) Down 2.8% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Rebound?

·5 min read

It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Universal Health Services (UHS). Shares have lost about 2.8% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Universal Health Services due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

Universal Health Beats on Q2 Earnings, Ups ‘21 EPS View

Universal Health reported second-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings of $3.76 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 36.7%. The bottom line improved 28.3% year over year. The company’s results were driven by uptick in revenues and solid segmental outcomes, partly offset by escalating operating costs. While adjusted admissions on a same facility basis at the company’s Acute Care Hospital Services segment climbed 26.4% year over year in the second quarter, the same for Behavioral Health Care Services segment advanced 14.1% year over year.

Quarterly Operational Update

Net revenues of $3.2 billion improved 17.1% year over year courtesy of higher revenues reported across the company’s acute care and behavioural health care facilities. The top line beat the consensus mark by 5.7%. Total operating costs rose 16.3% year over year to $2.8 billion in the second quarter mainly due to increased salaries, wages and benefits, other operating expenses, supplies expense, depreciation and amortization, and lease and rental expense.

Segmental Update

Acute Care Hospital Services

On same facility basis, adjusted patient days grew 21.6% year over year in the second quarter. Net revenues improved 18.5% year over year in the quarter on same facility basis from the company’s acute care services.

Behavioral Health Care Services

In the quarter under review, adjusted patient days on same facility basis rose 7.4% year over year. Net revenues stemming from the company’s behavioral health care services climbed 13.7% year over year.

Financial Update

Universal Health exited the second quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $199 million, which reflected a decline of 83.7% from the level at 2020 end. Net of outstanding letters of credit, the company had $996 million of aggregate available borrowing capacity left as of Jun 30, 2021 under its $1 billion revolving credit facility. As of Jun 30, 2021, total assets of $12.8 billion fell 4.9% from the figure as of Dec 31, 2020. The company’s long-term debt totaled $3.5 billion, which dipped 1.1% from the 2020-end level. During the second quarter, net cash provided by operating activities of $119.4 million plunged 91.8% from the year-ago comparable period. This was mainly due to an unfavorable change stemming from repayments of Medicare accelerated payments and accounts receivable, partly mitigated by a positive change arising from improved net income plus depreciation and amortization expense, and stock-based compensation expense.

Share Repurchase and Dividend Update

In the second quarter, the company bought back 2.2 million shares worth $350 million. This July, the board of directors approved a $1 billion increase in its existing share repurchase program, thereby taking the total authorization amount to $3.7 billion from the prior figure of $2.7 billion. The board of directors had approved a quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share, which had been paid on Jun 17, 2021 to shareholders of record as of Jun 2.

2021 Guidance Revised

Concurrent with second-quarter results, the company upped its 2021 outlook with respect to revenues, EBITDA and EPS. Net revenues are projected to be roughly $12.351-$12.501 billion band, which indicates growth in the range of 1.1% to 1.9% from the previous guidance of $12.125-$12.361 billion. Adjusted EBITDA, net of NCI, is expected to be around $1.883-$1.961 billion in 2021. The updated guidance indicates improvement of 6.1-8.4% when compared with the prior outlook of $1.738-$1.849 billion. Adjusted EPS-diluted is forecast to lie between $11.46 and $12.16, suggesting 10-14% growth from the previous outlook of $10.05-$11.05. Adjusted EPS-diluted is forecast to lie between $11.46 and $12.16, suggesting 10-14% growth from the previous outlook of $10.05-$11.05.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates revision have trended upward during the past month.

VGM Scores

Currently, Universal Health Services has a subpar Growth Score of D, a grade with the same score on the momentum front. However, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of C. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.


Estimates have been trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. It comes with little surprise Universal Health Services has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.

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