The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: EPL Oil & Gas, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Cerner, Quality Systems and Athenahealth

   The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: EPL Oil & Gas, Allscripts Healthcare
             Solutions, Cerner, Quality Systems and Athenahealth

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, March 13, 2013

CHICAGO, March 13, 2013 /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 EPL Oil & Gas Inc. (NYSE:EPL),
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (Nasdaq:MDRX), Cerner Corporation
(Nasdaq:CERN), Quality Systems (Nasdaq:QSII) and Athenahealth (Nasdaq:ATHN).


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Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

EPL Oil & Gas Upgraded to Strong Buy

On Mar 9, Zacks Investment Research upgraded EPL Oil & Gas Inc. (NYSE:EPL) to
a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

EPL has been using acquisitions to expand its presence in the Gulf of Mexico
(GoM). Continued increased production has been a boon for this independent
energy exploration company, whose earnings are expected to rise strongly in

EPL reported fourth quarter 2012 non-GAAP earnings per share of 67 cents on
Mar 7, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 47 cents by 43% and the
year-ago profit of 39 cents by 72%.

Results were driven by liquids volume (oil and natural gas liquids), which was
up 43% year over year to a record 13,516 barrels per day (Bbl/d). EPL's output
growth can be attributed to solid performance from its oil-weighted projects,
as well as contribution from the Hilcorp property buy.

On Oct 31, 2012, EPL completed its previously announced acquisition of certain
shallow water GoM assets from privately-held Hilcorp Energy GOM Holdings LLC
for $550 million. The transaction will increase EPL's proven reserves base by
almost 100% to roughly 74 million oil-equivalent barrels (BOE), while boosting
daily production by some 80% to more than 20,000 BOE.

The company expects the volume uptrend to continue and projects liquids
volumes to hit 16,000–17,000 Bbl/d in the first quarter, going further up to
17,000–18,500 Bbl/d in 2013.

Based on the success of the company's acquire-and-exploit policy, analysts are
predicting strong earnings growth for EPL in 2013. The Zacks Consensus
Estimate of $3.29 represents earnings per share growth of 79% over 2012.

Allscripts Makes 2 Acquisitions

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (Nasdaq:MDRX), a leading player in the health
care information technology (HCIT) market, recently revealed that it has taken
over Jardogs LLC, a provider of patient engagement offering and dbMotion Ltd.,
a provider of community-based healthcare offerings. Both entities are
privately held.

Jardogs provides a cloud-oriented patient engagement know how which
facilitates team building among patients, doctors and others. The Jardogs
FollowMyHealth patient engagement system permits patients to proactively
manage their care and empowers buyers to gauge their health condition.

dbMotion had a strategic relationship with Allscripts since 2009. Allscripts
is the biggest user of dbMotion know how. About 370 inpatient centers and
2,800 freestanding clinics use dbMotion know how. dbMotion makes available a
system for population health management as well as healthcare coordination and
utilizes data from disparate sources to create a record for patients.

The health care information technology market is competitive and price
sensitive. Among others, Allscripts faces strong competition from Cerner
Corporation (Nasdaq:CERN), Quality Systems (Nasdaq:QSII) and Athenahealth

However, optimism about the growth prospects of select HCIT service providers
remains favorable under the Obama administration, which passed a Stimulus
package in May 2009. The Stimulus package was aimed at increasing the use of
electronic health record (EHR) systems by medical practitioners. While
greenfield opportunities are shrinking, the replacement market is growing.

We are of the opinion that acute and ambulatory care will continue to converge
in future. Also, that Allscripts is positioned to provide integrated clinical
applications for health care providers to satisfy HITECH Act requirements and
eventually comply with an outcomes-based reimbursement system.

As a potential takeover target, Allscripts presents a lucrative opportunity
for firms seeking entry into the HCIT industry. It has a wide user base and
enjoys many opportunities vis-à-vis its peers. Its mergers with Misys and
Eclipsys have expanded opportunities and reach in practice management (PM) and
EHR markets substantially and increased cross-selling opportunities. We
believe that Allscripts is well positioned in the fast growing business of
selling EHR to physician practices as well as inpatient settings. The stock
carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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