Shares of Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC) have received a consensus rating of “Buy” from the twenty research firms that are currently covering the company, MarketBeat Ratings reports. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating on the company. The average twelve-month price objective among analysts that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $77.52.

A number of equities analysts recently issued reports on the company. Zacks Investment Research cut Centene from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday. Cowen restated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 price objective on shares of Centene in a report on Sunday, March 31st. Credit Suisse Group dropped their price objective on Centene from $76.00 to $63.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a report on Friday, March 29th. ValuEngine cut Centene from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, March 27th. Finally, Argus cut Centene to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, March 29th.

Shares of NYSE CNC traded up $0.30 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $53.22. 6,647,295 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 4,661,872. The company has a market cap of $21.87 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.03, a P/E/G ratio of 0.98 and a beta of 1.26. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.60, a quick ratio of 1.00 and a current ratio of 1.00. Centene has a 12 month low of $49.56 and a 12 month high of $74.49.

Centene (NYSE:CNC) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, February 5th. The company reported $1.38 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.33 by $0.05. Centene had a return on equity of 14.10% and a net margin of 1.50%. The firm had revenue of $16.56 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $16.38 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.49 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 29.3% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities analysts predict that Centene will post 4.24 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CFO Jeffrey A. Schwaneke sold 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $125.00, for a total transaction of $500,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Christopher D. Bowers sold 9,200 shares of the company’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 disclosure for this sale can be found here. 2.50% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Lindbrook Capital LLC acquired a new position in shares of Centene in the fourth quarter valued at about $31,000. Bessemer Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Centene by 140.7% in the fourth quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 349 shares of the company’s stock valued at $41,000 after purchasing an additional 204 shares during the period. Prime Capital Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Centene in the fourth quarter valued at about $47,000. Huntington National Bank increased 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 during the period. Finally, Toth Financial Advisory Corp increased 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 during the period. Hedge funds and other 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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Analyst Recommendations for Centene (NYSE:CNC)

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