Centene (NYSE: CNC) recently received a number of ratings updates from brokerages and research firms:

  • 1/14/2019 – Centene is now covered by analysts at Stephens. They set an “overweight” rating on the stock.
  • 1/11/2019 – Centene was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $133.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Centene’s shares have outperformed its industry’s gain in a year’s time. Moreover, it has witnessed its 2019 earnings estimates move north over the past 30 days. Its earnings have been supported by the acquisition of Fidelis Care, growth in the health insurance marketplace business, expansion in new programs in many of its states, other acquisitions  the return of the health insurer fee in 2018. Expansion of Marketplace business and a number of Medicaid and Medicare contract wins should lead to membership growth. Its strong cash flow generation capacity aids investment in business. The increase in earnings guidance for 2018 instills investor’s confidence in the company. Nevertheless, increasing operating costs remains a concern for the company. Apart from high level of debt, the company’s bottom line is substantially hurt by higher operating costs.”
  • 1/8/2019 – Centene was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Centene’s shares have outperformed its industry’s gain in a year’s time. Moreover, it has witnessed its 2019 earnings estimates move north over the past 30 days. Its earnings have been supported by the acquisition of Fidelis Care, growth in the health insurance marketplace business, expansion in new programs in many of its states, other acquisitions  the return of the health insurer fee in 2018. Expansion of Marketplace business and a number of Medicaid and Medicare contract wins should lead to membership growth. Its strong cash flow generation capacity aids investment in business. The increase in earnings guidance for 2018 instills investor’s confidence in the company. Nevertheless, increasing operating costs remains a concern for the company. Apart from high level of debt, the company’s bottom line is substantially hurt by higher operating costs.”
  • 12/31/2018 – Centene was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $122.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Centene’s shares have outperformed its industry’s gain in a year’s time. Its earnings have been supported by the acquisition of Fidelis Care, growth in the health insurance marketplace business, expansion in new programs in many of its states, other acquisitions including MHM, CMG, and Foundation Care, and the return of the health insurer fee in 2018. Expansion of Marketplace business and a number of Medicaid and Medicare contract wins should lead to membership growth. Its strong cash flow generation capacity aids investment in business. The increase in earnings guidance for 2018 instills investor’s confidence in the company. Nevertheless, increasing operating costs remains a concern for the company. Moreover, high leverage levels and increase in interest cost weigh down its margins.”
  • 12/17/2018 – Centene had its price target raised by analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald from $145.00 to $165.00. They now have an “overweight” rating on the stock.
  • 12/17/2018 – Centene was downgraded by analysts at ValuEngine from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating.
  • 12/17/2018 – Centene was downgraded by analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc from a “conviction-buy” rating to a “buy” rating.
  • 12/13/2018 – Centene had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald. They now have a $145.00 price target on the stock. They wrote, “We rate Centene Corporation (CNC) DCF-based price target of $145 per share. We continue to view Medicaid as a good growth opportunity. At the same time, CNC is building its Medicare Advantage business, increasing its footprint in individual exchange markets (and doing it profitably) and increasing its specialty offerings. $145 per share 12-month price target is based on DCF analysis.””

Shares of NYSE CNC opened at $120.01 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.59, a current ratio of 1.03 and a quick ratio of 1.03. Centene Corp has a 1-year low of $97.61 and a 1-year high of $148.98. The firm has a market cap of $24.28 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.86, a P/E/G ratio of 0.98 and a beta of 1.27.

Centene (NYSE:CNC) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, October 23rd. The company reported $1.79 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.77 by $0.02. Centene had a return on equity of 14.42% and a net margin of 1.58%. The company had revenue of $16.18 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $15.93 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.35 earnings per share. Centene’s quarterly revenue was up 36.0% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Centene Corp will post 7.04 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other Centene news, EVP Mark J. Brooks sold 2,540 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, December 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $121.26, for a total value of $308,000.40. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Robert K. Ditmore sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, October 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $129.24, for a total value of $1,938,600.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 3.00% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in CNC. Capital International Investors purchased a new position in shares of Centene in the third quarter valued at $1,012,845,000. FMR LLC increased its position in Centene by 203.4% during the 3rd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 2,419,139 shares of the company’s stock worth $350,243,000 after purchasing an additional 1,621,757 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Centene by 6.1% during the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,818,075 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,434,920,000 after purchasing an additional 970,422 shares in the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. increased its position in Centene by 257.9% during the 3rd quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 809,979 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,259,000 after purchasing an additional 583,679 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Point72 Asset Management L.P. increased its position in Centene by 188.5% during the 3rd quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. now owns 773,109 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,931,000 after purchasing an additional 505,109 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 88.64% of the company’s stock.

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. It operates through two segments, Managed Care and Specialty Services. The Managed Care segment offers health plan coverage to individuals through government subsidized programs, including Medicaid, the State children's health insurance program, long-term care, foster care, and dual eligible individual, as well as aged, blind, or disabled programs.

See Also: Fundamental Analysis

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