Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of The Ensign Group (NASDAQ:ENSG), a provider of skilled nursing and rehabilitative service in states west of the Rocky Mountains, look as if they've ejected their warp core and were placed on red alert with shares down as much as 45% at one point. The good news for shareholders is that all is not what it appears and their money has safely been transported to a spun-off holding in a not-so-distant quadrant.
So what: According to The Ensign Group's early morning press release, its spin-off of CareTrust REIT (NASDAQ:CTRE) was successfully completed this morning, with Ensign shareholders receiving one share of CareTrust REIT for each share of Ensign that they owned. CareTrust is now free to focus its efforts on being a pure-play health-care real estate business while The Ensign Group can now focus its efforts on expanding its skilled nursing network – which it in fact did this morning with the purchase of four new facilities.
Now what: You might say Ensign Group has just entered the neutral zone. You'd think Q was playing tricks on investors with just a forward P/E of nine, but a challenging array of declining Medicare reimbursements at the heart of the Obamacare rollout are going to make Ensign's growth challenging unless it's able to rein in its spending and grow by acquisition as it announced this morning. Ensign's ability to engage its impulse engines will also depend on the data set of its patients. If the number of privately insured patients rises due to the implementation of Obamacare, it could actually be more beneficial for Ensign over the long run. For now I'd suggest the best course of action is to wait for a reasonable pullback before going to warp nine on Ensign.