The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) Short Interest Update

The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) was the target of a significant increase in short interest in the month of December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 1,170,000 shares, an increase of 13.6% from the December 15th total of 1,030,000 shares. Currently, 2.3% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 241,600 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 4.8 days.

ENSG stock opened at $47.09 on Thursday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.11, a current ratio of 1.11 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.77. The Ensign Group has a 12 month low of $38.65 and a 12 month high of $63.00. The firm has a market cap of $2.49 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.31, a P/E/G ratio of 1.47 and a beta of 0.89. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $44.55 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $47.68.

The Ensign Group (NASDAQ:ENSG) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, October 30th. The company reported $0.55 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.52 by $0.03. The Ensign Group had a net margin of 4.84% and a return on equity of 17.27%. The firm had revenue of $600.51 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $601.12 million. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.46 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 16.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts predict that The Ensign Group will post 2.03 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 31st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, December 31st will be issued a $0.05 dividend. This is a positive change from The Ensign Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.05. This represents a $0.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.42%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, December 30th. The Ensign Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 11.17%.

A number of equities analysts recently commented on ENSG shares. SunTrust Banks raised their price target on shares of The Ensign Group from $44.00 to $48.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 18th. ValuEngine lowered shares of The Ensign Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 3rd. Stephens set a $47.00 price target on shares of The Ensign Group and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, November 1st. Royal Bank of Canada set a $50.00 price target on shares of The Ensign Group and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, November 1st. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus raised shares of The Ensign Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lowered their price target for the stock from $56.00 to $51.00 in a research report on Thursday, October 31st. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $52.00.

In related news, Director John G. Nackel sold 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.25, for a total transaction of $46,250.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 73,982 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,421,667.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 2,228 shares of company stock worth $101,137. 6.70% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in The Ensign Group by 3.1% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 7,713,644 shares of the company’s stock valued at $439,060,000 after buying an additional 229,895 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in The Ensign Group by 2.9% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,250,577 shares of the company’s stock valued at $355,783,000 after buying an additional 179,105 shares during the period. Copeland Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in The Ensign Group by 4.6% in the 3rd quarter. Copeland Capital Management LLC now owns 853,205 shares of the company’s stock valued at $40,467,000 after buying an additional 37,805 shares during the period. Northern Trust Corp increased its holdings in The Ensign Group by 0.7% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 751,031 shares of the company’s stock valued at $42,749,000 after buying an additional 5,182 shares during the period. Finally, Granahan Investment Management Inc. MA increased its holdings in The Ensign Group by 4.1% in the 3rd quarter. Granahan Investment Management Inc. MA now owns 373,748 shares of the company’s stock valued at $17,727,000 after buying an additional 14,550 shares during the period. 81.83% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About The Ensign Group

The Ensign Group, Inc provides health care services in the post-acute care continuum and other ancillary businesses. The company operates in three segments: Transitional and Skilled Services; Assisted and Independent Living Services; and Home Health and Hospice Services. The Transitional and Skilled Services segment offers a range of medical, nursing, rehabilitative, and pharmacy services, as well as routine services, such as daily dietary, social, and recreational services to Medicaid, private pay, managed care, and Medicare payors.

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