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

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Friday. They currently have $107.00 target price on the stock.

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. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year being revised upward by 3.4% in the last 60 days.”

Several other research firms have also recently weighed in on CNC. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a buy rating and issued a $111.00 target price (up previously from $95.00) on shares of Centene Corporation in a research note on Thursday, September 14th. Cantor Fitzgerald raised their price target on shares of Centene Corporation to $107.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 13th. Cowen and Company restated an outperform rating and set a $105.00 price target (up previously from $77.00) on shares of Centene Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, September 13th. Leerink Swann restated a market perform rating and set a $90.00 price target (up previously from $78.00) on shares of Centene Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, September 13th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies restated a buy rating and set a $105.00 price target on shares of Centene Corporation in a research note on Friday, September 1st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the company. Centene Corporation has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $92.24.

Shares of Centene Corporation (CNC) opened at 94.58 on Friday. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $86.31 and a 200 day moving average price of $78.28. The company has a market capitalization of $16.31 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.75 and a beta of 0.63. Centene Corporation has a one year low of $50.00 and a one year high of $98.72.

Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, July 25th. The company reported $1.59 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.29. Centene Corporation had a net margin of 1.72% and a return on equity of 14.62%. The business had revenue of $11.95 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $11.69 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.29 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 9.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Centene Corporation will post $4.92 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, Chairman Michael F. Neidorff sold 35,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.26, for a total value of $2,809,100.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Christopher D. Bowers sold 4,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.43, for a total transaction of $317,720.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 43,167 shares of company stock valued at $3,470,973. 3.00% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Centene Corporation by 4.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 16,726,500 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,336,113,000 after purchasing an additional 774,474 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Centene Corporation by 3,408.1% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,510,470 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,105,275,000 after purchasing an additional 15,068,340 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its holdings in shares of Centene Corporation by 0.5% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 7,154,348 shares of the company’s stock valued at $571,504,000 after purchasing an additional 35,040 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its holdings in shares of Centene Corporation by 12.4% in the second quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 4,193,466 shares of the company’s stock valued at $334,973,000 after purchasing an additional 462,936 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Centene Corporation by 318.6% in the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 3,504,359 shares of the company’s stock valued at $279,882,000 after purchasing an additional 2,667,189 shares in the last quarter. 92.32% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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