Two Strong Earnings Reports

Great news, we have two stocks doing well today after reporting good earnings last night.

Regional Bank First Busey (BUSE) is up 3.5% today after reporting third-quarter EPS of $0.65, vs. $0.58 in the third quarter of last year. While results were only $0.01 above expectations, investors were impressed with the compositions of the results. Specifically, net interest income was up 12.8% from the second quarter of this year, as higher short-term interest rates have started to have a positive impact on earnings. With loans and deposits both trending higher, this improvement should continue through the next few quarters at least.

Even if the company has higher credit losses next year, I believe BUSE can earn $2.70 in 2023, up from $2.40 this year. So, I believe the stock can perform strongly through year-end. BUSE is a buy below $24. My target is $29.

Even better, Universal Health Services (UHS) is up 13% after reporting third-quarter EPS of $2.54, vs. $2.67 last year, on a 5.7% increase in revenues. While results were only $0.11 above expectations, there has been quite a bit of concern about earnings of hospital companies, especially after Tenet Healthcare (THC) reported poor earnings on Thursday evening that caused its stock to fall over 30% on Friday. With UHS stock very depressed, any good results were cause for the stock to soar, and that is what we are seeing today.

While inflation continues to impact UHS, the company is managing its contract labor better, which helped results at acute care hospitals. In addition, admissions were up 4% at Behavioral Health centers, after slumping in the first half of the year.

UHS remained cautious about the environment on the conference call. However, with two months left in the year, EPS should come in at $11.25 for 2022. With comparisons easy, an estimate of $12 in 2023 seems reasonable. At just over 9X this estimate, the stock remains cheap. UHS remains a buy below $110. My target is $130.