Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Year to date, Centene’s shares have outperformed the industry. The company’s strong and consistent performance is likely to have generated confidence among the investors. It has seen substantial inorganic growth in the last five years. The acquisition of Health Net in 2016 bolstered the company’s growth, expansion and asset base. Its solid financial position provides a major boost to its capital deployment initiatives. The company’s strong Managed care segment also contributes to its strong results. Its second-quarter 2017 earnings per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and improved year over year on the back of higher revenues. However, it suffers from rising level of debt and increasing borrowing cost that keeps draining the bottom-line. Growing  acquisition related expenses also continue to bother.”

Several other brokerages have also recently weighed in on CNC. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $94.00 price target on shares of Centene Corporation in a research report on Friday, July 14th. BidaskClub upgraded Centene Corporation from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, June 24th. ValuEngine cut Centene Corporation from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 13th. Citigroup Inc. upped their price target on Centene Corporation from $80.00 to $89.00 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 26th. Finally, UBS AG reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price target (up from $88.00) on shares of Centene Corporation in a research report on Wednesday, July 26th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Centene Corporation presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $86.82.

Shares of Centene Corporation (NYSE CNC) traded down 0.97% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $82.38. 1,673,144 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The company has a market cap of $14.21 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.08 and a beta of 0.66. Centene Corporation has a 12 month low of $50.00 and a 12 month high of $87.94. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $81.53 and a 200 day moving average price of $73.62.

Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 25th. The company reported $1.59 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.29. Centene Corporation had a return on equity of 14.62% and a net margin of 1.72%. The business had revenue of $11.95 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $11.69 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.29 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 9.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts forecast that Centene Corporation will post $4.92 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, Director Robert K. Ditmore sold 3,900 shares of the company’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 value of $294,177.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, SVP Mark J. Brooks sold 2,161 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.43, for a total transaction of $163,004.23. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 53,578 shares of company stock worth $4,264,757. 3.00% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of CNC. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. boosted its position in Centene Corporation by 5.9% in the first quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 1,662 shares of the company’s stock valued at $118,000 after buying an additional 93 shares during the period. Seven Bridges Advisors LLC bought a new position in Centene Corporation during the second quarter valued at $123,000. Quadrant Capital Group LLC boosted its position in Centene Corporation by 5.6% in the first quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 2,263 shares of the company’s stock valued at $155,000 after buying an additional 120 shares during the period. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its position in Centene Corporation by 9.6% in the second quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 1,944 shares of the company’s stock valued at $155,000 after buying an additional 170 shares during the period. Finally, Creative Planning boosted its position in Centene Corporation by 5.4% in the first quarter. Creative Planning now owns 2,476 shares of the company’s stock valued at $176,000 after buying an additional 127 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 93.60% 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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