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Universal Health Services (UHS) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

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Have you been paying attention to shares of Universal Health Services (UHS)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 8.8% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $165 in the previous session. Universal Health Services has gained 15.7% since the start of the year compared to the -2.1% move for the Zacks Medical sector and the 42.2% return for the Zacks Medical - Hospital industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 26, 2021, Universal Health Services reported EPS of $3.76 versus consensus estimate of $2.75.

For the current fiscal year, Universal Health Services is expected to post earnings of $11.08 per share on $12.3 billion in revenues. This represents a -0.36% change in EPS on a 6.42% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $12.28 per share on $12.87 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 10.88% and 4.63%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Universal Health Services may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. Investors should consider the style scores a valuable tool that can help you to pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Universal Health Services has a Value Score of A. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are C and C, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 14.4X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 9.2X versus its peer group's average of 12.4X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 2.2. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Universal Health Services currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Universal Health Services meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though Universal Health Services shares could have potential in the weeks and months to come.


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