Morgan Stanley Cuts Centene (NYSE:CNC) Price Target to $64.00

Centene (NYSE:CNC) had its target price cut by equities researchers at Morgan Stanley from $71.00 to $64.00 in a report issued on Friday, BenzingaRatingsTable reports. The firm presently has an “overweight” rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley’s price target would suggest a potential upside of 40.72% from the stock’s previous close.

Several other research firms have also weighed in on CNC. ValuEngine lowered Centene from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 2nd. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Centene from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $59.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, May 29th. Finally, Citigroup raised Centene from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Friday, May 10th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company. Centene presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $74.72.

CNC stock traded down $0.07 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $45.48. 48,633 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 4,972,734. The stock’s fifty day moving average price is $51.05 and its 200-day moving average price is $56.33. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58, a quick ratio of 1.07 and a current ratio of 1.07. The company has a market cap of $19.25 billion, a PE ratio of 12.85, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.74 and a beta of 0.83. Centene has a one year low of $45.44 and a one year high of $74.49.

Centene (NYSE:CNC) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, July 23rd. The company reported $1.34 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.10. The firm had revenue of $18.36 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $18.02 billion. Centene had a return on equity of 15.87% and a net margin of 1.84%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 29.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.90 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that Centene will post 4.42 EPS for the current year.

In related news, Director Jessica L. Blume bought 2,850 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 26th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $52.99 per share, with a total value of $151,021.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 2.50% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Centene by 1.3% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 42,806,796 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,244,788,000 after acquiring an additional 539,794 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in Centene by 101.6% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 36,536,247 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,940,075,000 after purchasing an additional 18,409,531 shares during the period. Viking Global Investors LP grew its holdings in Centene by 233.3% during the second quarter. Viking Global Investors LP now owns 13,994,550 shares of the company’s stock worth $733,874,000 after purchasing an additional 9,795,824 shares during the period. Invesco Ltd. grew its holdings in Centene by 91.2% during the second quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 6,368,307 shares of the company’s stock worth $333,956,000 after purchasing an additional 3,037,351 shares during the period. Finally, Maverick Capital Ltd. grew its holdings in Centene by 57.4% during the second quarter. Maverick Capital Ltd. now owns 6,123,308 shares of the company’s stock worth $321,106,000 after purchasing an additional 2,233,222 shares during the period. 93.08% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Centene Company Profile

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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