Centene (CNC) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Centene (NYSE:CNC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Friday, Zacks.com reports.

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.”

CNC has been the topic of several other research reports. Citigroup upgraded Centene from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 price target on the stock in a report on Friday, May 10th. Credit Suisse Group cut their price target on Centene from $76.00 to $63.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, March 29th. Argus lowered Centene to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, March 29th. ValuEngine lowered Centene from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Thursday, April 18th. Finally, Cowen initiated coverage on Centene in a report on Thursday, February 28th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $77.00 price target on the stock. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and seventeen have given a buy rating to the company. Centene presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $75.80.

Shares of Centene stock opened at $56.04 on Friday. Centene has a one year low of $45.44 and a one year high of $74.49. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.04. The stock has a market cap of $23.15 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.83, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.94 and a beta of 1.21.

Centene (NYSE:CNC) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, April 23rd. The company reported $1.39 EPS for the quarter, beating the 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 company had revenue of $18.44 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $17.44 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $2.17 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 39.8% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Centene will post 4.36 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Huntington National Bank lifted its holdings in shares of Centene by 110.7% in the first quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 472 shares of the company’s stock valued at $25,000 after purchasing an additional 248 shares in the last quarter. Toth Financial Advisory Corp lifted its holdings in shares of Centene by 100.0% in the first quarter. Toth Financial Advisory Corp now owns 480 shares of the company’s stock valued at $25,000 after purchasing an additional 240 shares in the last quarter. Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. bought a new position in shares of Centene in the first quarter valued at approximately $27,000. Shamrock Asset Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Centene by 100.0% in the first quarter. Shamrock Asset Management LLC now owns 522 shares of the company’s stock valued at $28,000 after purchasing an additional 261 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Kore Private Wealth LLC bought a new position in shares of Centene in the first quarter valued at approximately $30,000. Institutional investors 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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