Centene (CNC) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Centene (NYSE:CNC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Thursday, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $61.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Centene’s first-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings per share of $1.39, beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.3% and also improved 27.5% year over year on the back of Fidelis buyout, growing revenues, etc. Its shares have outperformed its industry quarter to date. Its momentum in revenue growth is likely to grow on the back of rising membership and expansion. The company boasts an impressive inorganic growth strategy, driven by buyouts. It recently entered into an agreement with WellCare, which will position the company as the largest Medicaid managed care organization in the country. Medical membership of the company has been rising over the past several quarters owing to contract wins. However, mounting operating costs remain a headwind. In 2019, adjusted SG&A expense ratio is estimated between 9.3% and 9.8%. Also, high debt level increases leverage risk.”

A number of other research firms have also commented on CNC. Oppenheimer cut their price objective on Centene from $165.00 to $83.00 and set an outperform rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, February 6th. SunTrust Banks reduced their target price on shares of Centene to $80.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, April 24th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Centene from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 27th. Jefferies Financial Group restated a buy rating and issued a $76.00 target price on shares of Centene in a research note on Thursday, February 7th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald restated a buy rating and issued a $83.00 target price on shares of Centene in a research note on Wednesday, February 27th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating to the company. Centene has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $75.80.

Shares of CNC stock traded up $0.73 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $56.30. 522,177 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 11,068,574. Centene has a 1-year low of $45.44 and a 1-year high of $74.49. The firm has a market capitalization of $22.89 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.86, a PEG ratio of 0.92 and a beta of 1.21. The company has a current ratio of 1.04, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58.

Centene (NYSE:CNC) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 23rd. The company reported $1.39 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.32 by $0.07. Centene had a return on equity of 14.60% and a net margin of 1.66%. The firm had revenue of $18.44 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $17.44 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $2.17 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 39.8% on a year-over-year basis. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Centene will post 4.36 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of CNC. Lindbrook Capital LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Centene during the fourth quarter worth approximately $31,000. Bessemer Group Inc. grew its holdings in Centene by 140.7% during the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 349 shares of the company’s stock valued at $41,000 after purchasing an additional 204 shares in the last quarter. Prime Capital Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Centene during the 4th quarter valued at $47,000. Huntington National Bank boosted its stake in Centene by 110.7% during the 1st quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 472 shares of the company’s stock valued at $25,000 after acquiring an additional 248 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Toth Financial Advisory Corp boosted its stake in Centene by 100.0% during the 1st quarter. Toth Financial Advisory Corp now owns 480 shares of the company’s stock valued at $25,000 after acquiring an additional 240 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 49.14% of the company’s stock.

About Centene

Centene Corporation operates as a diversified and multi-national healthcare enterprise that provides programs and services to under-insured and uninsured individuals in the United States. The company's Managed Care segment offers health plan coverage to individuals through government subsidized programs, including Medicaid, the State children's health insurance program, long-term services and support, foster care, and medicare-medicaid plans, which covers dually eligible individuals, as well as aged, blind, or disabled programs.

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Analyst Recommendations for Centene (NYSE:CNC)

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