Healthcare Stocks in Focus: MDAS, CYH, and TMH

MedAssets, Inc. (MDAS), Community Health Systems (CYH), and Team Health Holdings LLC (TMH) are making headlines today

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Aug 4, 2015 at 1:48 PM

A number of healthcare companies are in the news today, including resource management firm MedAssets, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDAS), hospital operator Community Health Systems (NYSE:CYH), and staffing concern Team Health Holdings LLC (NYSE:TMH). Here's a run-down of the latest headlines, and a brief look into the technicals and sentiment indicators related to each stock.

For starters, activist investor Starboard Value LP disclosed a nearly 9% ownership stake in MDAS. In a letter to the company's CEO and board, Starboard said, "we believe that MedAssets is deeply undervalued relative to the quality of its assets, and the earnings power of its core business," and predicted MDAS shares could be worth as much as $46 by the end of 2016, under Starboard's plan of action.

However, the news is failing to provide a lift to MedAssets, Inc., which is down 9% at $21.49. This represents quite the reversal for a stock that just last week hit an annual high of $23.90. Short sellers are likely cheering the sell-off, as 8.3% of the equity's float is sold short -- representing about seven days of trading, at typical volumes.

Moving along, CYH is up 3% at $60.10, after the company posted better-than-expected earnings, announced plans to spin off 38 hospitals and its consulting unit, and received a price-target hike to $83 from $79 at Jefferies. As such, the shares' year-to-date gain has surpassed 11%.

Option bulls have been upping the stakes on Community Health Systems in recent weeks. Specifically, at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity has racked up a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 29.27 -- just 8 percentage points shy of an annual high.

Finally, TMH revealed better-than-expected second-quarter results, and announced it will purchase IPC Healthcare Inc (NASDAQ:IPCM) for $1.4 billion, or $80.25 per share. While IPCM is up 36% on the news -- and earlier notched a record high of $80.09 -- TMH has surrendered 4.5% to trade at $64.50.

Traders are welcoming this swoon with open arms. Team Health Holdings LLC's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio registers at 2.94, with long puts almost tripling calls. Additionally, this ratio ranks in the top quartile of its annual range, suggesting puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual clip.

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