Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Fundamental Breakdown of 3 Major EHR Companies by Motley Fool's Leo Sun

When most people talk about the electronic health record, or EHR, market, they tend to speak in terms of forward projections. They focus on the projection that the North American health care IT market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.4% to $31.3 billion by 2017. They also point out that the U.S. government's HITECH legislation, started in 2009, will continue funding these businesses as medical practices are offered incentives to make "meaningful use" of their EHR services.
Shrewd investors, however, should know that forward growth projections are often far rosier than they actually are. Therefore, in our zeal to discuss the latest mobile EHR apps, speech recognition software, and biometrics technology in health care IT, we shouldn't neglect the basis of all solid, long-term investments -- the fundamentals.
In this article, I'll take a look at the fundamental growth of three leading EHR companies --Allscripts (NASDAQ: MDRX  ) , Cerner (NASDAQ: CERN  ) , and athenahealth(NASDAQ: ATHN  ) -- and how much scaffolding supports each one.
Market share growthAllscripts, Cerner, and athenahealth are three publicly traded companies that rank in the top ten EHR companies by market share. General Electric and McKesson are also major public players in the health care IT field, but both businesses are more diversified. Privately held Epic is the market leader in larger practices, while Practice Fusion is the fastest growing company in the industry.
A look at the market share growth in the ambulatory electronic medical record, or EMR, market between July 2012 and May 2013 reveals that only Practice Fusion, athenahealth, Epic, and Cerner reported positive market growth.
July 2012-May 2013 Market Share Growth
Total Overall Market Share
Practice Fusion
Sources:, SK&A
While it's clear that athenahealth is the fastest growing publicly traded EHR company, its market share still trails its larger peers by a wide margin. Allscripts, on the other hand, has lost significant market share over the past year, despite extensive partnerships which include collaborations with tech giant Cisco and drugstore chain CVS Caremark.
The Foolish fundamentalsNow that we've established which companies are growing and which are shrinking, we should compare their fundamental valuations.
5-year PEG
Trailing P/E
Price to Sales
Price to Book
Debt to Equity
Profit Margin
Source: Yahoo! Finance, as of Aug. 29.
Fundamental investors should immediately notice some major problems with athenahealth -- its whopping P/E, P/S, and P/B ratios all suggest that the stock is grossly overvalued. Its 5-year PEG ratio of 3.79 also suggests sluggish growth ahead. Moreover, the company's paper-thin margins and high debt-to-equity ratio are major red flags. Allscripts has some major problems as well -- a five-year forecast for sluggish growth, a lack of profitability, and negative margins.
Cerner, on the other hand, has more stable valuations than either athenahealth or Allscripts, but the disparity between its PEG ratio and trailing P/E suggests limited upside from current levels. It also has robust double-digit margins in an industry plagued by negative profit growth.
A look at the top and bottom line growth of these three companies also confirms the fact that only Cerner has been able to preserve its top and bottom line growth over the past two years.
ATHN Revenue Per Share TTM Chart
A look at the price performance of these three stocks over the same period indicates that although investors are satisfied with Cerner's solid growth, but they are more enamored with athenahealth's growth potential, despite its lack of fundamental support.
ATHN Chart
The Foolish bottom lineOf course, fundamental valuations only tell half the story for these EHR companies. To fully gauge their market value, investors should also consider their future growth prospects.
Looking forward, athenahealth investors should consider its deal with Ascension Health Alliance, which added 2,700 doctors to its EHR service, and the growth of its popular Epocrates medical reference app. Cerner investors should keep an eye on the company's partnerships with Nuance for clinical documentation improvement and voice-enabled EHR apps. Last but not least, Allscripts' partnerships with Cisco and CVS, along with its recently updated iPad EHR app, could help it regain some of its lost market share.
With the EHR market becoming more saturated every day, it can be tough to separate the winners from the losers. Although health care IT companies have yet to reach their full market potential, investors should always do their due diligence and measure each company's financial health against its future growth prospects to find the best long-term investment.
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

FedEx Corp (FDX) Q1 Earninings Results and Guidance...

FedEx Corp. (FDX) today reported earnings of $1.53 per diluted share for the first quarter ended August 31, compared to $1.45 per share last year.
"Growth in overall demand for our broad global portfolio of solutions drove our improved first quarter results," said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer. "FedEx Express remains focused on reducing costs while facing challenging global economic conditions. Meanwhile, FedEx Ground continues to generate strong profitability on growing customer demand for its services."
First Quarter Results
FedEx Corp. reported the following consolidated results for the first quarter:
* Revenue of $11.0 billion, up 2% from $10.8 billion the previous year
* Operating income of $795 million, up 7% from $742 million last year
* Operating margin of 7.2%, up from 6.9% the previous year
* Net income of $489 million, up 7% from last year’s $459 million
Revenue and earnings increased during the quarter, driven by solid performance at each of the company’s transportation segments. Results include significant headwinds from the net year-over-year impact from the timing lag that exists between when fuel prices change and indexed fuel surcharges automatically adjust, as well as one fewer operating day.
FedEx reaffirmed its forecast of full-year earnings per share growth of 7% to 13% from last year’s adjusted results. This outlook assumes the market outlook for fuel prices, U.S. GDP growth of 2.1% and world GDP growth of 2.6%. The capital spending forecast for fiscal 2014 remains $4 billion.
"We remain confident in our full year earnings outlook despite tepid global economic growth," said Alan B. Graf, Jr., FedEx Corp. executive vice president and chief financial officer. "FedEx Express continued to execute on its profit improvement initiatives during our first quarter. We remain focused and are committed to FedEx Express achieving its $1.6 billion operating profit improvement target by the end of fiscal 2016."
2014 Rate Increases
FedEx Express will increase shipping rates by an average of 3.9% for U.S. domestic, U.S. export and U.S. import services effective January 6, 2014. The FedEx Ground and FedEx SmartPost pricing changes for 2014 will be announced later this year. FedEx Freight implemented a 4.5% general rate increase on July 1, 2013.
Details of changes that will be made to FedEx Express surcharges can be found at
FedEx Express Segment
For the first quarter, the FedEx Express segment reported:
* Revenue of $6.61 billion, down slightly from last year’s $6.63 billion
* Operating income of $236 million, up 14% from $207 million a year ago
* Operating margin of 3.6%, up from 3.1% the previous year
Revenue decreased due to lower fuel surcharge revenue and one fewer operating day. U.S. domestic average daily package volume increased 1% while U.S. domestic revenue per package was essentially flat, as higher rate per pound and weight per package were offset by lower fuel surcharges. FedEx international export average daily volume grew 4% during the quarter, as FedEx International Economy grew 15% while FedEx International Priority slightly declined. International export revenue per package fell 4% primarily due to lower fuel surcharges, lower rates and the demand shift to lower-yielding international services.
Operating income and margin growth were constrained by the significant net negative impact of the fuel surcharge timing lag and one fewer operating day. Despite these constraints, operating results improved due to better base U.S. business performance and lower pension expenses. The continued modernization of the company’s aircraft fleet drove maintenance costs lower, partially offset by higher related depreciation expense.
FedEx Ground Segment
For the first quarter, the FedEx Ground segment reported:
* Revenue of $2.73 billion, up 11% from last year’s $2.46 billion
* Operating income of $468 million, up 5% from $445 million a year ago
* Operating margin of 17.1%, down from 18.1% the previous year
FedEx Ground average daily volume grew 11% in the first quarter due to continued growth in both FedEx Home Delivery and commercial business services. Revenue per package increased 1% due to increased rates and higher residential surcharge revenue, partially offset by lower fuel surcharges. FedEx SmartPost average daily volume increased 26% primarily due to growth in e-commerce. FedEx SmartPost net revenue per package decreased 5% due to increased postage rates and lower fuel surcharges, partially offset by rate increases.
Operating income increased due to higher volume and revenue per package, partially offset by the net negative impact of fuel, increased network expansion costs and one fewer operating day. Operating margin decreased due to the net negative impact of fuel.
FedEx Freight Segment
For the first quarter, the FedEx Freight segment reported:
* Revenue of $1.42 billion, up 2% from last year’s $1.40 billion
* Operating income of $91 million, up 1% from $90 million a year ago
* Operating margin of 6.4%, unchanged from 6.4% the previous year
Less-than-truckload (LTL) yield increased 1% due to FedEx Freight Economy and FedEx Freight Priority base yield improvement. LTL weight per shipment grew 1% due to heavier FedEx Freight Priority, while LTL average daily shipments increased 1% due to FedEx Freight Economy.
Operating income improved due to higher weight per shipment, yield and average daily shipments, overcoming the impact of one fewer operating day.
Corporate Overview
FedEx Corp. (FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $45 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 300,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit
Additional information and operating data are contained in the company’s annual report, Form 10-K, Form 10-Qs and first quarter fiscal 2014 Statistical Book. These materials, as well as a webcast of the earnings release conference call to be held at 8:30 a.m. EDT on September 18 are available on the company’s website at A replay of the conference call webcast will be posted on our website following the call.
Certain statements in this press release may be considered forward-looking statements, such as statements relating to management’s views with respect to future events and financial performance. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors which could cause actual results to differ materially from historical experience or from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, economic conditions in the global markets in which we operate, legal challenges or changes related to FedEx Ground’s owner-operators, our ability to execute on our business realignment program, new U.S. domestic or international government regulation, the impact from any terrorist activities or international conflicts, our ability to effectively operate, integrate and leverage acquired businesses, changes in fuel prices and currency exchange rates, our ability to match capacity to shifting volume levels and other factors which can be found in FedEx Corp.’s and its subsidiaries’ press releases and filings with the SEC.
The financial section of this release is provided on the company’s website at
SOURCE: FedEx Corp.
FedEx Corp. 
Media Contact: 
Jess Bunn, 901-818-7463 
Investor Contact: 
Mickey Foster, 901-818-7468 
Home Page:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dollar down as Bonds & Stocks rally; Summers steps aside and Yellen takes 'Central Stage, Left'

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar slid while bonds and shares rallied in Asia on Monday after Lawrence Summers dropped from the race to be head of the Federal Reserve, while progress on Syria also shored up risk appetite.
Investors wagered that U.S. monetary policy would stay easier for longer should the other leading candidate for Fed chair, Janet Yellen, get the job.
Summers' surprise decision comes just before the central bank meets on Tuesday and Wednesday to decide when and by how much to scale back its asset purchases from the current pace of $85 billion a month.
Markets had perceived Summers as less wedded to aggressive policies such as quantitative easing and more likely to scale it back quicker than the more dovish Yellen, who is currently second in command at the Fed.
"Short-term interest rates are going to remain at zero for longer than you ever would have imagined," should Yellen get the chair, said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
It was even possible a first hike would be pushed out into 2016, rather than 2015 as currently planned, he said. Going by Yellen's past speeches, she would likely make getting the jobless rate down a priority.
"Yellen looks like the clear front-runner, and seems to be the public's popular choice," he argued. "The Fed will shoot to lower the unemployment rate to the full employment level and this means the new target could be more 5.5 percent, not 6.5 percent."
The market reaction was immediate with the euro up half a U.S. cent at $1.3357, after reaching its highest in almost three weeks. The dollar also dropped on sterling and the Swiss franc.
It proved more resilient against the yen, which was weighed by its status as a safe-haven, and pared early losses to stand at 99.10. Liquidity was also lacking with Japanese markets closed for a holiday on Monday.
Stock futures for the S&P50 mini index climbed 1 percent to 1,706.25, leading Asian bourses higher.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> gained 0.5 percent, while South Korea (.KS11) jumped 1.1 percent.
Sentiment was further helped by Saturday's deal between Russia and the United States to demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad account for his chemical arsenal within a week and let international inspectors eliminate all the weapons by the middle of next year.
In debt markets, futures for the U.S. Treasury 10-year note leaped almost a full point, a sizable move for Asian hours, as investors took yields lower. There was no trading in cash Treasury paper as Tokyo was off.
The more distant Eurodollar contracts rallied sharply as the market pared back expectations for how quickly the Fed might finally start to tighten, as opposed to just tapering its stimulus.
Contracts from late 2014 out to 2016 all enjoyed double-digit gains suggesting a hike was now considered more likely in 2015, rather than in late 2014.
The prospect of a more protracted easing cycle would be a big relief to emerging markets from India to Brazil which have been hammered by expectations offshore funds would switch to developed markets as yields there rose.
Gold recouped some of last week's losses, with the metal rising to $1,328.26 an ounce, from around $1,308.
Oil prices declined as the likelihood of a U.S. strike on Syria seemed to recede further. Brent crude lost $1.04 to $110.66 a barrel, while Nymex crude shed 89 cents to $107.32 CLc1>.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

NO DEAL with Apple (AAPL) and China Mobile (CHL); once again Cook burns the bulls..

AAPL shareholders are frustrated with no execution from Cook as the overly hyped iPhone 5 included a trip to China just hours ago. And analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray assigned a 99% probability of an imminent AAPL - CHL deal; did not happen and shares are down more than 5%. 

Traders who watched CNBC yesterday afternoon and acted on Munster's bold prediction have to be perturbed.  

Whether you liked or disliked Steve Jobs, his death marked the beginning of the end for Apple and its apped-up shareholders.