Health Management Associates Inc. (HMA): Today's Featured Health Care Laggard

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Health Management Associates ( HMA) pushed the Health Care sector lower today making it today's featured Health Care laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 1.4%. By the end of trading, Health Management Associates fell $0.20 (-1.6%) to $12.58 on light volume. Throughout the day, 4,571,821 shares of Health Management Associates exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6,752,100 shares. The stock ranged in price between $12.46-$12.73 after having opened the day at $12.70 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $12.78. Other companies within the Health Care sector that declined today were: Biodel ( BIOD), down 29.8%, Nymox Pharmaceutical Corporation ( NYMX), down 9.3%, Inovio Pharmaceuticals ( INO), down 8.6% and Allied Healthcare Products ( AHPI), down 8.4%.

Health Management Associates, Inc. provides general acute care health services in non-urban communities. The Company operates 32 general acute care hospitals with a total of 4,379 licensed beds, and four psychiatric hospitals with a total of 286 licensed beds. Health Management Associates has a market cap of $3.3 billion and is part of the health services industry. Shares are up 37.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Health Management Associates a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 14 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Health Management Associates as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid stock price performance. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

On the positive front, GW Pharmaceuticals PLC ADR ( GWPH), up 53.7%, Neuralstem ( CUR), up 18.4%, Chimerix ( CMRX), up 16.7% and Receptos ( RCPT), up 14.4% , were all gainers within the health care sector with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ( REGN) being today's featured health care sector leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the health care sector could consider Health Care Select Sector SPDR ( XLV) while those bearish on the health care sector could consider ProShares Ultra Short Health Care ( RXD).

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