Healthcare Stock Analysis: Humana Up 1% on Rating Lift, BMY is Attractive Among Others

The DJIA, S&P and Nasdaq all edged up to finish the day in the green. Analysts delivered their latest reports to shareholders of the following companies:

Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM): Bernstein says Humana is its top pick. The feels Humana’s short-term health is better and could see 2012 earnings-per-share (NYSE:EPS) at $9.50. The firm estimates EPS growth will compound annually at a rate of 14 percent from 2011-2019.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY): Jefferies says Bristol-Myers even more attractive as takeover target. Adding another revenue stream with it acquisition of Inhibitex (NASDAQ:INHX), makes Bristol-Myers’ (NYSE:BMY) an even more attractive takeover target, according to Jefferies. The firm is waiting to see of 2013 guidance bill be lowered following what is considered an expensive deal. Jefferies keeps a Buy with a $39 target.

Health Management Associates Inc. (NYSE:HMA): CRT Capital says keep an eye on Health Management lawsuit. A terminated employee filed a suit in October 2011 claiaming Health Management and a subsidiary violated Florida’s Private Sector Whistle Blower’s Act. The suit is being brought by ex-FBI agent, Paul Meyer, who performed duties as Director of Compliance and internal auditor for Health Management. Noting Meyer’s FBI credentials and responsibilities, the analyst believes the suit needs watching. CRT Capital rates HMA Fair Value.

ZOLL Medical Corp. (NASDAQ:ZOLL): RBC Capital raises ZOLL Medical target from $75 to $93. RBC Capital cites a rebound in the company’s core defib business and expects a 50 percent growth in ZOLL’s LifeVest for this year. The firm feels margins could expand recommend a buy at current levels.

HEALTHSOUTH Corp. (NYSE:HLS): JMP Securities lowers HealthSouth target from $29 to $24. Citing regulatory and legislative headwinds for the reduction, the firm maintains an Outperform.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (NYSE:VRX): Jefferies raises Valeant target from $64 to $75. Valeant had forecasts that were very optimistic and Jefferies says their 2012 guidance was even better. Valeant is trying to break into the top 15 pharmaceutical by the end of 2013.  Jefferies says reaching the goal would value shares at $160. The firm says the goal would equate to a $160 per share valuation. Jefferies raised target and keep a Buy.

Parexel International Corp. (NASDAQ:PRXL): Sterne Agee says second quarter results should rally PAREXEL. Sterne Agee expects higher than expected second quarters earnings-per-share (NYSE:EPS) from PAREXEL and an upward revision of fiscal year 2012 low end EPS guidance. Flat 2012 guidance by Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) for spending on research and development, makes Sterne Agee feel positive for PAREXEL. Sterne Agee keeps PRXL a Buy.

Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:ENDP): Collins Stewart says buy on Endo Pharmaceuticals pullback. Friday’s sell-off in Endo Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ENDP)  is probably due the shutdown at Novartis’ (NYSE:NVS) over-the-counter plant, says Collins Stewart. There should be no impact on Endo’s fourth quarter and the firm recommends investors use the weakness to buy.

Inhibitex Inc. (NASDAQ:INHX): Canaccord sees competing bids for Inhibitex. At $26 a share, Bristol-Myers’ (NYSE:BMY) bid for Inhibitex (NASDAQ:INHX) really understates potential for Inhibitex’s (NASDAQ:INHX) INX-189 and there could be a hostile bid. The firm view the bid as a validation of Inhibitex’s HCV nuc prodrug intellectual property and feels concerns about tolerability of  INX-189 tolerability concerns are overstated. The firm reiterated its Buy raised target from $22 to $34.

Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX): Leerink says Inhibitex takeover leaves only Idenix and Achillion. After Bristol-Myers’ (NYSE:BMY) takeover of Inhibitex (NASDAQ:INHX), Leerink feels Hepatitis C virus space is left with only two other targets, Idenix (NASDAQ:IDIX) and Achillion (NASDAQ:ACHN).  The firm believes Abbott (NYSE:ABT), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Merck (NYSE:MRK), and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) could find Idenix’s nucleotide polymerase I DX189 attractive, while  Novartis (NYSE:NVS), Roche (RHHBY), and Vertex could look at Achillion’s protease and NS5A inhibitors.

Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:IART):  Oppenheimer lowers Integra LifeSciences target from $43 to $32, citing lower than expected fiscal year 2011 earnings-per-share and receipt of a Food and Drug Administration(FDA) warning letter. Oppenheimer feels “meaningful strides” have been taken with FDA’s issues whcih appear short-term. Oppenheimer maintains an Outperform.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Wilkerson at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com