HCA Healthcare

(HCA) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations by a penny.

The Nashville, Tenn., health care services and hospital company earned $198 million, or 35 cents a share, excluding items, compared with $159 million, or 28 cents a share, in the year-ago period. According to a poll by

First Call/Thomson Financial

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, 25 analysts expected fourth-quarter earnings of 34 cents a share.

Quarterly revenue was $4.17 billion, up 5.9% from $3.94 billion last year.

The company recorded a charge of about $95 million, or 17 cents a share, to settle outstanding federal criminal claims related to Medicare billing, in the fourth quarter.

Shares of HCA lately climbed 15 cents, or 0.4%, to $37.75 in morning trading on the Big Board.