Centene (CNC) Upgraded to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Centene (NYSE:CNC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. The firm presently has a $65.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would suggest a potential upside of 14.10% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Centene’s shares have gained against its industry’s loss 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. Its first-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings per share of $1.39, beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.3% and improved 27.5% year over year on the back of Fidelis buyout and solid revenues. However, mounting operating costs remain a headwind. Also, high debt level increases leverage risk.”

A number of other equities analysts have also weighed in on the stock. Citigroup upgraded shares of Centene from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Friday, May 10th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Centene from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 2nd. 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. Morgan Stanley reduced their target price on shares of Centene from $83.00 to $75.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, April 24th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $83.00 price target on shares of Centene in a research note on Sunday, April 21st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and eighteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $76.02.

Shares of NYSE CNC traded up $0.10 during trading on Tuesday, hitting $56.97. The company had a trading volume of 265,122 shares, compared to its average volume of 10,795,820. Centene has a fifty-two week low of $45.44 and a fifty-two week high of $74.49. The firm has a market cap of $23.50 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.07, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.96 and a beta of 1.21. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58.

Centene (NYSE:CNC) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, April 23rd. The company reported $1.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.32 by $0.07. Centene had a net margin of 1.66% and a return on equity of 14.60%. The business had revenue of $18.44 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $17.44 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $2.17 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 39.8% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts anticipate that Centene will post 4.38 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in CNC. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio boosted its holdings in shares of Centene by 5.9% in the 4th quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 85,746 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,887,000 after buying an additional 4,781 shares in the last quarter. Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund purchased a new stake in Centene in the 4th quarter valued at $468,000. Deltec Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in Centene in the 1st quarter valued at $12,458,000. Osborne Partners Capital Management LLC raised its position in Centene by 95.8% in the 1st quarter. Osborne Partners Capital Management LLC now owns 194,180 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,311,000 after purchasing an additional 95,025 shares during the last quarter. Finally, CI Investments Inc. raised its position in Centene by 35.6% in the 4th quarter. CI Investments Inc. now owns 261,900 shares of the company’s stock valued at $30,197,000 after purchasing an additional 68,800 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 90.79% 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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