The Ensign Group, Inc. (ENSG) Cut to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report report published on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “The Ensign Group’s operation suffers severely from rising expenses that keeps draining the bottom line. Moreover, the company’s extensive use of debt keeps raising the cost of borrowing, i.e. the interest expense which in turn hurts its profitability. The company also faces difficulties in the stringent regulatory environment of the U.S medical sector. Also, regulations faced by the non-U.S. operations of the company keep raising concerns. Year to date, its shares have underperformed the industry as well. However, it operates in the booming post-acute care industry that holds untapped opportunities. Its inorganic strategies consistently boost the revenue base. Its solid financial health enables it in enhancing shareholders’ value. Its second-quarter 2017 earnings missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but increased year over year driven by higher revenues. Management reaffirmed 2017 EPS and revenue guidance which indicate optimism.”

Several other research firms have also recently commented on ENSG. Wells Fargo & Company cut The Ensign Group from a market perform rating to an underperform rating in a research report on Friday, April 28th. BidaskClub cut The Ensign Group from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $22.00.

The Ensign Group (ENSG) traded up 0.56% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $19.76. The stock had a trading volume of 129,975 shares. The firm has a market cap of $1.01 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.00 and a beta of 0.84. The Ensign Group has a 52 week low of $16.51 and a 52 week high of $23.35. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $21.64 and a 200 day moving average of $19.69.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 31st. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 30th were issued a $0.0425 dividend. This represents a $0.17 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.86%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, June 28th. The Ensign Group’s dividend payout ratio is 20.24%.

In other The Ensign Group news, VP Barry Port sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $23.00, for a total value of $230,000.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 135,642 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,119,766. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. In the last three months, insiders sold 11,761 shares of company stock worth $267,981. 6.20% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ENSG. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in The Ensign Group by 0.3% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,951,320 shares of the company’s stock worth $129,561,000 after buying an additional 19,967 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in The Ensign Group by 2.3% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,475,647 shares of the company’s stock worth $97,435,000 after buying an additional 102,129 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its position in The Ensign Group by 7.6% in the first quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 2,105,058 shares of the company’s stock worth $39,575,000 after buying an additional 148,627 shares in the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP increased its position in The Ensign Group by 102.3% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 2,103,251 shares of the company’s stock worth $39,542,000 after buying an additional 1,063,828 shares in the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp increased its position in The Ensign Group by 9.6% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,222,140 shares of the company’s stock worth $22,977,000 after buying an additional 107,395 shares in the last quarter. 84.65% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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Analyst Recommendations for The Ensign Group (NASDAQ:ENSG)

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