Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Centene has seen substantial inorganic growth in the last five years. The acquisition of Health Net in 2016 which boosted the company’s growth, expansion and asset base, is worth a mention here. This apart, its solid financial position provides a major boost to its capital deployment initiatives. The company’s strong Managed care segment also impresses. Well evident of all these tailwinds, year to date, the stock rallied 44%, outpacing 210% gain of the Zacks HMO industry. The company’s strong and consistent performance is likely to have generated confidence among the investors. However, the company rigorously suffers from continuously rising level of debt that result in increasing borrowing cost which again keeps draining the bottom line. In addition, steep increase in acquisition related expenses as well as the regulatory uncertainty from the change of presidency are major concerns.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently commented on CNC. BidaskClub cut shares of Centene Corporation from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, July 1st. Cantor Fitzgerald reissued an “overweight” rating and set a $90.00 target price (up previously from $88.00) on shares of Centene Corporation in a research note on Monday, June 19th. ValuEngine cut shares of Centene Corporation from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 13th. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $81.00 target price (up previously from $78.00) on shares of Centene Corporation in a research note on Monday, June 19th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus raised their target price on shares of Centene Corporation from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 26th. Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $80.47.

Shares of Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) traded up 0.04% on Monday, reaching $81.29. 287,423 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm has a market capitalization of $14.00 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.01 and a beta of 0.68. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $77.26 and a 200 day moving average price of $69.76. Centene Corporation has a 52 week low of $50.00 and a 52 week high of $85.79.

Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, April 25th. The company reported $1.12 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.06 by $0.06. The firm had revenue of $11.72 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $11.44 billion. Centene Corporation had a net margin of 1.57% and a return on equity of 14.19%. Centene Corporation’s quarterly revenue was up 68.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.74 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that Centene Corporation will post $4.77 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, SVP Mark J. Brooks sold 2,161 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.43, for a total transaction of $163,004.23. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director Richard A. Gephardt sold 4,350 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $77.38, for a total transaction of $336,603.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 22,728 shares of company stock worth $1,696,920. 3.00% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Cleararc Capital Inc. boosted its stake in Centene Corporation by 0.8% in the first quarter. Cleararc Capital Inc. now owns 4,198 shares of the company’s stock valued at $299,000 after buying an additional 35 shares in the last quarter. Wesbanco Bank Inc. boosted its stake in Centene Corporation by 0.6% in the first quarter. Wesbanco Bank Inc. now owns 8,150 shares of the company’s stock valued at $581,000 after buying an additional 50 shares in the last quarter. Probity Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Centene Corporation by 0.9% in the first quarter. Probity Advisors Inc. now owns 5,467 shares of the company’s stock valued at $390,000 after buying an additional 50 shares in the last quarter. Howe & Rusling Inc. boosted its stake in Centene Corporation by 0.8% in the first quarter. Howe & Rusling Inc. now owns 8,112 shares of the company’s stock valued at $578,000 after buying an additional 61 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Buckingham Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in Centene Corporation by 1.8% in the first quarter. Buckingham Asset Management LLC now owns 4,936 shares of the company’s stock valued at $352,000 after buying an additional 86 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 93.34% of the company’s stock.

Centene Corporation Company Profile

Centene Corporation is a healthcare company. The Company provides a portfolio of services to government sponsored healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. The Company operates through two segments: Managed Care and Specialty Services. The Company’s Managed Care segment provides health plan coverage to individuals, through government subsidized programs, including Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Long Term Care, Foster Care, dual-eligible individuals (Duals) and the Supplemental Security Income Program, also known as the Aged, Blind or Disabled Program (ABD), Medicare, and Health Insurance Marketplace.

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Analyst Recommendations for Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC)

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