Shares of HCA Healthcare (HCA 2.73%) fell as much as 10.4% early Tuesday, then settled to trade down 5% as of 11:00 a.m. EDT after the healthcare facilities operator announced lower-than-anticipated quarterly earnings. The company also narrowed its full-year revenue and earnings guidance ranges.

On HCA's mixed third-quarter results

For its third quarter of 2023, revenue grew 8.3% year over year to $16.21 billion, slightly above Wall Street's consensus estimates for revenue of $15.82 billion. On the bottom line, however, that translated to net income of $1.079 billion, or $3.91 per share, attributable to HCA shareholders. That's roughly flat from the same year-ago period and below estimates for earnings of $3.97 per share.

HCA CEO Sam Hazen credited the company's revenue growth to strong demand for its services, insisting that "most aspects of [the] business were positive." At the same time, he also noted HCA's consolidated results were hurt by a weaker-than-expected performance from its physician staffing joint venture with Valesco.

What's in store for HCA Healthcare going forward

Looking ahead to the rest of 2023, HCA narrowed its outlook to call for revenue of $63.5 billion to $64.5 billion (compared to its previous range of $63.25 billion to $64.75 billion) and earnings per share of $17.80 to $18.50 (narrowed from $17.70 to $18.90 per share). HCA also slightly reduced the high end of its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) guidance to a range of $12.3 billion to $12.6 billion (from a prior range of $12.3 billion to $12.8 billion).

While HCA certainly isn't a broken business, this mixed quarterly update obviously left investors underwhelmed. With shares still up around 10% over the past year as of this writing, the leading healthcare stock is simply responding in kind.