What: Shares of Envision Healthcare Holdings, (NYSE:EVHC), a physician-led, outsourced medical services located in the United States, dropped by more than 33% today on exceptional volume after the company reported its third quarter results. According to the report, Envision generated adjusted earnings per share of $0.30 for the three month period. Unfortunately, the Street was expecting the company's adjusted EPS to come in at $0.39, meaning that Envision missed consensus by a noteworthy 23%.
So what: Management cited a mixture of "staffing challenges" leading to higher-than-expected compensation costs during the quarter and lower than expected volume in its EmCare business segment for the earnings miss. Investors therefore appear to be worried that these issues could pop up again in subsequent quarters.
Now what: Despite this hefty earnings miss, Wall Street remains overtly bullish on this medical services stock. While some of its peers like Tenet Healthcare drew the ire of analysts today because of headwinds across the industry, for example, the group of analysts covering Envision were oddly quiet on the stock, keeping the consensus price target at $48.88 according to S&P Capital IQ.
Perhaps the main reason the Street is so optimistic regarding Envision's prospects moving forward is because the consensus 5-year CAGR for the company's EPS presently stands at 13.57%--fueled mainly by its EmCare business segment.
Will Envision turn out to be the exception among hospital stocks? At this stage, I think it's far too early to tell. All that's readily apparent at this point is that the market appears convinced that hospital and medical services companies are heading into a period of slower growth. As such, you may to exercise caution with this group of stocks in general, and Envision in particular, right now.