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Analysts at Morgan Stanley started coverage on shares of Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC) in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday. The firm set a “buy” rating and a $87.00 price target on the stock. Morgan Stanley’s target price would suggest a potential upside of 16.26% from the company’s current price.

The analysts wrote, “Centene has become the premier Medicaid pure-play and deserving of its premium multiple to the group. Plus we expect further earnings upside. We believe non-pharmacy medical costs are likely to remain muted for the Medicaid population as new markets/members represent a smaller percentage of the business in ’14, and this should offset higher specialty pharmacy costs near-term. “Longer-term we expect state Medicaid reimbursement to reflect these higher cost treatments, and appropriate clinical guidelines will also help to reduce the cost pressure on the Medicaid program. We see ’15 as more of a timing risk relative to Hepatitis C-related therapies reimbursement given actuarial soundness requirements.”

A number of other firms have also recently commented on CNC. Analysts at Sterne Agee initiated coverage on shares of Centene Corp in a research note on Friday. They set a “buy” rating and a $87.00 price target on the stock. Separately, analysts at Oppenheimer raised their price target on shares of Centene Corp from $81.00 to $89.00 in a research note on Thursday. They now have an “outperform” rating on the stock. Finally, analysts at Zacks upgraded shares of Centene Corp from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research note on Tuesday. They now have a $80.00 price target on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Centene Corp currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $76.32.

Shares of Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC) opened at 74.83 on Friday. Centene Corp has a 52 week low of $51.57 and a 52 week high of $77.68. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $73.11 and a 200-day moving average of $64.25. The company has a market cap of $4.316 billion and a P/E ratio of 24.49.

Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 22nd. The company reported $0.57 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.44 by $0.13. The company had revenue of $3.35 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.25 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.42 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 31.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Centene Corp will post $3.71 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Centene Corporation is a multi-line healthcare enterprise, which provides programs and services to the number of under-insured and uninsured individuals.

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