Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Chemed (NYSE:CHE) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Chemed outperformed its industry in the past year. The company’s subsidiaries continue to register strong sales in recent times. The Roto-Rooter business saw consistent growth on strong performance by the core plumbing and drain cleaning service segments as well as solid growth in water restoration. The expansion in adjusted operating margin buoys optimism. The raised guidance for 2018 hints at a brighter picture ahead. Of the major concerns, reimbursement-related issues, seasonality in business, a competitive landscape and dependence on government mandate pose challenges. Moreover, more than 95% of VITAS’ net patient service revenues consist of payments from the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which intensifies pricing pressure.”

A number of other research analysts have also recently commented on the company. ValuEngine cut Chemed from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, August 2nd. Royal Bank of Canada increased their price target on Chemed to $321.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research note on Monday, July 30th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $315.33.

Shares of CHE opened at $315.99 on Tuesday. Chemed has a 52 week low of $191.39 and a 52 week high of $335.99. The firm has a market capitalization of $5.05 billion, a PE ratio of 30.13, a PEG ratio of 2.84 and a beta of 1.15. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.19, a current ratio of 1.04 and a quick ratio of 1.01.

Chemed (NYSE:CHE) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 25th. The company reported $2.81 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.77 by $0.04. Chemed had a return on equity of 33.57% and a net margin of 11.00%. The company had revenue of $441.80 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $434.28 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $2.15 EPS. Chemed’s revenue was up 6.4% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts expect that Chemed will post 11.05 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, August 31st. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 13th were paid a $0.30 dividend. This represents a $1.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.38%. This is a boost from Chemed’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.28. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, August 10th. Chemed’s dividend payout ratio is presently 22.39%.

In related news, insider Kevin J. Mcnamara sold 4,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $319.50, for a total value of $1,278,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 139,491 shares in the company, valued at $44,567,374.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Donald E. Saunders sold 300 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, August 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $319.22, for a total value of $95,766.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 8,701 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,777,533.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 6,006 shares of company stock valued at $1,923,098 over the last quarter. 4.82% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Boston Partners increased its holdings in Chemed by 2.7% in the second quarter. Boston Partners now owns 160,271 shares of the company’s stock valued at $51,577,000 after purchasing an additional 4,186 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its holdings in Chemed by 175.3% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 205,300 shares of the company’s stock valued at $56,018,000 after purchasing an additional 130,719 shares during the period. Clinton Group Inc. acquired a new stake in Chemed in the second quarter valued at $3,480,000. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado increased its holdings in Chemed by 20.5% in the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado now owns 3,376 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,086,000 after purchasing an additional 575 shares during the period. Finally, Mutual of America Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in Chemed by 68.1% in the second quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC now owns 24,172 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,779,000 after purchasing an additional 9,790 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 90.54% of the company’s stock.

Chemed Company Profile

Chemed Corporation provides hospice and palliative care services in the United States. It operates through two segments, VITAS and Roto-Rooter. The VITAS segment offers direct medical services, as well as spiritual and emotional counseling services to terminally ill patients. This segment offers its services to patients through a network of physicians, registered nurses, home health aides, social workers, clergy, and volunteers.

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