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What: Shares of Select Medical (NYSE: SEM ) , an operator of specialty hospitals and outpatient rehabilitation centers, dipped as much as 14% after the company reported disappointing first-quarter results and provided an uninspiring full-year outlook.
So what: For the quarter, net operating revenue increased by just shy of 1% to $750 million as net income fell to $82.5 million from $91.6 million in the year-ago period; or $0.25 in EPS on a diluted basis compared to $0.29 in EPS in 2012. Wall Street analysts had forecast a profit of $0.27 per share on revenue of $760.6 million. Furthermore, Select Medical provided full-year guidance that calls for revenue of $2.925 billion to $3.025 billion and EPS of $0.87-$0.94. Expectations currently call for $3 billion in revenue and EPS of $1.01. Select Medical blamed its weak forecast on the effects of sequestration.
Now what: While today's results certainly weren't anything to write home about, Select Medical is getting to a point where I'm beginning to find it attractive. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will help provide an insurance buffer for hospital companies who have been done in by doubtful accounts in the past by requiring everyone carry health insurance by law. In addition, downside pressure on government reimbursements appears mostly dashed by recent recommendations by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. At less than nine times this year's earnings, I'm certainly thinking Select Medical deserves a closer look.
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