The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Constellation Brands, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Athenahealth, Cerner and Quality Syste

CHICAGO, Oct. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ), Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (Nasdax: MDRX), Athenahealth (Nasdaq: ATHN), Cerner (Nasdaq: CERN) and Quality Systems (Nasdaq: QSII).


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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Constellation Brands Beats Estimate

Leading wine distributor Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) delivered an adjusted EPS of 76 cents in its second quarter ended of fiscal 2012, outperforming the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 66 cents and prior-year quarters' earnings of 43 cents.

Sales in the quarter plummeted 20% to $770.4 million from the year-ago quarter. An organic constant currency net sales was at par with previous year quarter. The fall in sales was due to the divestitures of the Australian and U.K. wine business and U.K. cider business. However, sales for the quarter surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $663.0 million.

Fiscal 2012 Outlook

The company expects its fiscal 2012 EPS to be in the band of $1.92 to $2.02. The guidance factors in an interest expense expectation in the range of approximately $180–$190 million, an approximate tax rate of 27% and weighted average diluted shares outstanding of approximately 210 million.

Constellation Brands anticipates free cash flow in the range of $600.0 to $650.0 million in fiscal 2012.

More Adoption for Allscripts

Leading Electronic Health Record ("EHR") vendor, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (Nasdax: MDRX), recently reported that two multi-hospital healthcare systems, in Michigan and California, have chosen its solutions as part of the connectivity strategies for their communities. These strategies are meant to circumvent the data shortfalls frequently encountered by independent providers and hospitals treating the same patient.

A spokesperson for the company stated that Allscripts is glad to team up with Citrus Valley Health Partners ("CVHP") and MidMichigan to create a "Connected Community of Health" in which all providers receive access to composite clinical data.     

MidMichigan Health in Midland, Michigan and CVHP in Covina, California will utilize the Allscripts Community Record powered by dbMotion to grant their doctors and other providers with common access to one, unified patient record. Furthermore, both healthcare systems will offer to underwrite a part of the expense burden, for the Allscripts EHR, for their associate physicians.

The Allscripts EHR, with built-in practice management, is intended to enable doctors in stand-alone and small-group practices to overcome hardware and cost-related impediments. The solution is marketed as either a cloud-based or an on-premise offering. The company allows doctors to select the delivery mechanism that best suits them.

The Allscripts Community Record safely exchanges data between the clinical systems of many vendors in a community. This offering harmonizes information and makes it available for the provider, at the correct time and place, within his/her EHR workflow. Such highly flexible exchange of data enables healthcare systems to meet challenges, such as quality measures, disease management and regulatory compliance.

CVHP, of East San Gabriel Valley in California, runs a large in-patient hospice hospital, three not-for-profit community hospitals and a robust home health program. It has approximately 1,000 affiliated physicians. The health system serves nearly a million inhabitants.

MidMichigan Health is a not-for-profit healthcare system, based in Midland, Michigan. It is a partnership of services, providers and facilities, which includes hospice, homecare, 4 medical centers with 459 beds, 185 nursing home beds and over 400 employed and affiliated physicians. Mid Michigan had earlier chosen the Allscripts Electronic Health Record for its employed doctors and it has already implemented the EHR at its Family Practice Center at MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland. 

Allscripts has a decent market share in inpatient and ambulatory settings. Since incumbency is deemed to be the most significant competitive advantage, the company may become a stellar performer.

In reality, selling to hospitals still appears to be a struggle for Allscripts. In fact, the company is unable to meet the pressing demand for integrated ambulatory-acute care EHR packages. Some major competitors, such as Cerner, have long ago developed unified and seamless products serving both inpatient and outpatient segments. It will probably take Allscripts a few more years before it can offer a truly unified platform.

Allscripts continues to benefit from the financial incentive program for medical providers for complying with federal EHR requirements. The size of the opportunity is large and penetration still low. Allscripts must compete with a large number of competitors such as Athenahealth (Nasdaq: ATHN), Cerner (Nasdaq: CERN) and Quality Systems (Nasdaq: QSII). We currently have a long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

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