HCA Holdings Inc. shares surged almost 3% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the hospital operator raised its first-quarter sales and profit guidance. HCA said it expects revenue of about $9.675 billion, up from $8.832 billion a year ago and above the FactSet consensus of $9.55 billion. The company expects EPS of about $1.35, up from 76 cents a year ago and above the FactSet consensus of $1.14. "The majority of the first quarter performance was driven by continued favorable volume and payor trends in our core operations," Chief Executive R. Milton Johnson said in a statement, in which he said the company is "very pleased" with the quarter. For all of 2015, the company is now expecting revenue of $38.5 billion to $39.5 billion, below earlier guidance of $39.0 to $40.0 billion. EPS is forecast at $4.55 to $4.95, compared with prior guidance of $4.90 to $5.30. Shares have gained 5.4% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.8%.
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