HCA Holdings (NYSE: HCA) and Air Methods Corp (NASDAQ:AIRM) are both medical companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, dividends, earnings, risk, analyst recommendations, valuation and profitability.

Volatility and Risk

HCA Holdings has a beta of 0.62, suggesting that its share price is 38% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Air Methods Corp has a beta of 1.46, suggesting that its share price is 46% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares HCA Holdings and Air Methods Corp’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
HCA Holdings $42.27 billion 0.64 $8.20 billion $7.47 9.98
Air Methods Corp N/A N/A N/A $2.59 16.58

HCA Holdings has higher revenue and earnings than Air Methods Corp. HCA Holdings is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Air Methods Corp, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for HCA Holdings and Air Methods Corp, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
HCA Holdings 0 4 14 0 2.78
Air Methods Corp 0 3 1 0 2.25

HCA Holdings presently has a consensus price target of $92.71, indicating a potential upside of 24.30%. Air Methods Corp has a consensus price target of $42.50, indicating a potential downside of 1.05%. Given HCA Holdings’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe HCA Holdings is more favorable than Air Methods Corp.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

73.8% of HCA Holdings shares are held by institutional investors. 2.9% of HCA Holdings shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 9.0% of Air Methods Corp shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares HCA Holdings and Air Methods Corp’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
HCA Holdings 6.64% -48.08% 7.90%
Air Methods Corp 6.67% 14.18% 4.43%

Summary

HCA Holdings beats Air Methods Corp on 7 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

HCA Holdings Company Profile

HCA Healthcare, Inc., formerly HCA Holdings, Inc., is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates hospitals and related healthcare entities. As of December 31, 2016, the Company operated in two geographically organized groups, including the National and American Groups. As of December 31, 2016, the National Group included 84 hospitals, which were located in Alaska, California, Florida, southern Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, northern Kentucky, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia. As of December 31, 2016, the American Group included 80 hospitals, which were located in Colorado, northern Georgia, Kansas, southern Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. As of December 31, 2016, the Company operated six hospitals in England. The Company owns, manages or operates hospitals, freestanding surgery centers and freestanding emergency care facilities, walk-in clinics, diagnostic and imaging centers, among others.

Air Methods Corp Company Profile

Air Methods Corporation is engaged in providing air medical emergency transport services and systems throughout the United States. The Company’s segments include Air Medical Services (AMS), Tourism and United Rotorcraft (UR) Division. As of December 31, 2016, its AMS Division provided air medical transportation services in 41 states to the general population as an independent service (also called community-based services) and to hospitals or other institutions under exclusive operating agreements (also called hospital-based services). It transports persons requiring intensive medical care from either the scene of an accident or general care hospitals to skilled trauma centers or tertiary care centers. As of December 31, 2016, its Air Medical Services Division operated 394 helicopters and 31 fixed wing aircrafts under both Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and Visual Flight Rules (VFR). As of December 31, 2016, its Tourism Division operated 63 helicopters and two fixed wing aircrafts.

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