Universal Health Services, Inc. (NYSE:UHS) was the recipient of a large growth in short interest during the month of December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 2,740,000 shares, a growth of 11.8% from the December 15th total of 2,450,000 shares. Currently, 3.6% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 565,300 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 4.8 days.

Shares of UHS stock traded down $0.30 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $144.01. The stock had a trading volume of 87,742 shares, compared to its average volume of 409,599. The firm’s 50 day simple moving average is $143.19 and its 200 day simple moving average is $142.97. The company has a quick ratio of 1.09, a current ratio of 1.19 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.76. Universal Health Services has a one year low of $117.77 and a one year high of $157.79. The firm has a market cap of $12.74 billion, a PE ratio of 15.11, a P/E/G ratio of 1.69 and a beta of 1.06.

Universal Health Services (NYSE:UHS) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 24th. The health services provider reported $1.99 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.30 by ($0.31). Universal Health Services had a return on equity of 15.80% and a net margin of 6.48%. The firm had revenue of $2.82 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.77 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $2.23 EPS. Universal Health Services’s revenue was up 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts forecast that Universal Health Services will post 9.81 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 19th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, December 5th were given a $0.20 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, December 4th. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.56%. Universal Health Services’s dividend payout ratio is currently 8.39%.

In other Universal Health Services news, President Marc D. Miller sold 8,013 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $144.51, for a total value of $1,157,958.63. Following the sale, the president now owns 186,209 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $26,909,062.59. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, CFO Steve Filton sold 30,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $141.40, for a total value of $4,242,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 265,238 shares in the company, valued at approximately $37,504,653.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 12.60% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. lifted its position in shares of Universal Health Services by 10.7% during the 2nd quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 30,422 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $3,967,000 after buying an additional 2,945 shares during the period. Sciencast Management LP bought a new position in shares of Universal Health Services during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $445,000. United Capital Financial Advisers LLC bought a new position in shares of Universal Health Services during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $231,000. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC lifted its position in shares of Universal Health Services by 4.1% during the 3rd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 285,882 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $42,525,000 after buying an additional 11,243 shares during the period. Finally, Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio lifted its position in shares of Universal Health Services by 4.6% during the 3rd quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 34,947 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $5,198,000 after buying an additional 1,539 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 86.57% of the company’s stock.

A number of analysts have issued reports on UHS shares. Zacks Investment Research lowered Universal Health Services from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $152.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Thursday, December 12th. Deutsche Bank assumed coverage on Universal Health Services in a research report on Friday, January 3rd. They issued a “buy” rating and a $140.00 price objective for the company. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised their price objective on Universal Health Services from $159.00 to $164.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, December 20th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $153.21.

Universal Health Services Company Profile

Universal Health Services, Inc, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates acute care hospitals, outpatient facilities, and behavioral health care facilities. The company operates through Acute Care Hospital Services, Behavioral Health Care Services, and Other segments. Its hospital offer general and specialty surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics, emergency room care, radiology, oncology, diagnostic care, coronary care, pediatric services, pharmacy services, and/or behavioral health services.

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