Centene (NYSE:CNC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Monday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Centene’s 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. Medical membership of the company has been rising over the past several quarters due to contract wins. Shares of the company have lost more than its industry in a year’s time. Over the last 30 days, the company has witnessed its 2019 and 2020 earnings estimates move north. However, rising operating costs remains a concern. Also, high debt level increases leverage risk. In 2019, the company expects its adjusted EPS to remain in between $4.11 and $4.31, down from 2018’s full year EPS of $7.08.”

Other equities research analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Jefferies Financial Group reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $76.00 price target on shares of Centene in a research report on Thursday, February 7th. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a “buy” rating and set a $83.00 price objective on shares of Centene in a research report on Wednesday, February 27th. Goldman Sachs Group downgraded Centene from a “conviction-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, December 17th. Cowen restated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 price objective on shares of Centene in a research report on Sunday, March 31st. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Centene from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, December 17th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Centene currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $76.87.

Shares of CNC stock traded down $0.22 during midday trading on Monday, reaching $52.70. 254,806 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 7,559,489. Centene has a 1-year low of $49.56 and a 1-year high of $74.49. The company has a current ratio of 1.00, a quick ratio of 1.00 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.60. The company has a market cap of $21.87 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.86, a PEG ratio of 0.98 and a beta of 1.26.

Centene (NYSE:CNC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 5th. The company reported $1.38 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.33 by $0.05. Centene had a net margin of 1.50% and a return on equity of 14.10%. The company had revenue of $16.56 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $16.38 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.49 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 29.3% on a year-over-year basis. Sell-side analysts forecast that Centene will post 4.24 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other Centene news, EVP Christopher D. Bowers sold 9,200 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.01, for a total value of $598,092.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO Jeffrey A. Schwaneke sold 4,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $125.00, for a total value of $500,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 2.50% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Neville Rodie & Shaw Inc. raised its holdings in Centene by 5.3% in the 4th quarter. Neville Rodie & Shaw Inc. now owns 2,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $231,000 after acquiring an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management grew its stake in shares of Centene by 1.5% during the 4th quarter. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management now owns 6,600 shares of the company’s stock valued at $761,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. Tributary Capital Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Centene by 0.7% during the 4th quarter. Tributary Capital Management LLC now owns 15,200 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,753,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. Kepos Capital LP grew its stake in shares of Centene by 0.3% during the 3rd quarter. Kepos Capital LP now owns 50,231 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,272,000 after buying an additional 136 shares during the period. Finally, Advisor Partners LLC grew its stake in shares of Centene by 2.2% during the 4th quarter. Advisor Partners LLC now owns 6,822 shares of the company’s stock valued at $787,000 after buying an additional 148 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 45.57% 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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