The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “The shares of Ensign Group has lost 6% over last one year, much narrower than the 18% loss incurred by the  Zacks categorized Nursing Homes industry. The company operates in the booming post-acute care industry that holds untapped opportunities. In addition, the company’s consistently rising revenues on the back of robust inorganic growth is impressive. Its strong underwriting results have been mainly backed by its solid fundamentals. Its operating earnings of $0.31 per share came, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate, but were down 3.1% year over year. The company is exposed to headwinds like rising expenses, heavy debt burden and regulatory uncertainty created by the surprise victory of Donald Trump. Stringent regulations faced by the non-U.S operations of the company also raise concerns.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued reports about the company. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of The Ensign Group in a research note on Friday, February 10th. TheStreet lowered The Ensign Group from a “b” rating to a “c+” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 25th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $26.00 price objective (down from $29.00) on shares of The Ensign Group in a research note on Friday, February 10th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co lowered The Ensign Group from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research note on Friday, April 28th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $22.60.

Analyst Recommendations for The Ensign Group (NASDAQ:ENSG)

The Ensign Group (NASDAQ:ENSG) traded up 0.16% on Thursday, reaching $18.58. The company had a trading volume of 39,928 shares. The company has a 50-day moving average of $18.94 and a 200 day moving average of $19.88. The Ensign Group has a one year low of $16.50 and a one year high of $23.18. The stock has a market cap of $942.04 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.41 and a beta of 0.95.

The Ensign Group (NASDAQ:ENSG) last released its quarterly earnings data on Monday, May 1st. The company reported $0.34 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.33 by $0.01. The Ensign Group had a return on equity of 13.94% and a net margin of 3.02%. The company had revenue of $441.74 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $435.72 million. On average, equities research analysts predict that The Ensign Group will post $1.48 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Sunday, April 30th. Investors of record on Friday, March 31st were given a dividend of $0.0425 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 29th. This represents a $0.17 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.92%. The Ensign Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 17.71%.

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In other The Ensign Group news, Director John G. Nackel purchased 3,462 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, April 28th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $17.55 per share, for a total transaction of $60,758.10. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 96,732 shares in the company, valued at $1,697,646.60. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Barry Port sold 3,884 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $18.13, for a total value of $70,416.92. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 122,442 shares in the company, valued at $2,219,873.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 6.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ENSG. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in The Ensign Group by 132,060.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,931,353 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,509,000 after buying an additional 5,926,865 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in The Ensign Group by 5.9% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,373,518 shares of the company’s stock worth $82,222,000 after buying an additional 245,244 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake 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 during the period. Wellington Management Group LLP raised its stake 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 during the period. Finally, State Street Corp raised its stake 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 during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 87.18% of the company’s stock.

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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