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

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.”

ENSG has been the topic of several other reports. Wells Fargo & Company downgraded shares of The Ensign Group from a market perform rating to an underperform rating in a report on Friday, April 28th. BidaskClub raised shares of The Ensign Group from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Saturday, June 10th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $22.00.

Shares of The Ensign Group (ENSG) traded up 0.56% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $19.76. 129,975 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.01 billion, a PE ratio of 23.00 and a beta of 0.84. The Ensign Group has a 1-year low of $16.51 and a 1-year high of $23.35. The company’s 50 day moving average is $21.60 and its 200 day moving average is $19.68.

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

In other news, VP Barry Port sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $23.00, for a total value of $230,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 135,642 shares in the company, valued at $3,119,766. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Insiders sold 11,761 shares of company stock valued at $267,981 over the last quarter. Company insiders own 6.20% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Riverhead Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of The Ensign Group by 86.6% in the second quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 4,664 shares of the company’s stock worth $102,000 after buying an additional 2,164 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in The Ensign Group by 36.8% in the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 6,084 shares of the company’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 1,638 shares during the last quarter. UBS Group AG boosted its stake in The Ensign Group by 93.9% in the first quarter. UBS Group AG now owns 6,986 shares of the company’s stock valued at $131,000 after buying an additional 3,383 shares during the last quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in The Ensign Group during the first quarter valued at about $131,000. Finally, Nisa Investment Advisors LLC boosted its stake in The Ensign Group by 52.2% in the first quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 7,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $132,000 after buying an additional 2,400 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 84.65% of the company’s stock.

The Ensign Group Company Profile

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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