Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a report published on Thursday. They currently have $97.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Centene’ searnings per share of $1.59 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 22.3% and improved 23.2% year over year on the back of higher revenues. It has seen substantial inorganic growth in the last five years. The acquisition of Health Net in 2016 bolstered the company’s growth, expansion and asset base. Its solid financial position provides a major boost to its capital deployment initiatives. The company’s strong Managed care segment also impresses. Year to date, the stock rallied 47%, outpacing 23% gain of the industry. The company’s strong and consistent performance is likely to have generated confidence among the investors. However, it suffers from rising level of debt and increasing borrowing cost that keeps draining the bottom-line. Rising level of  acquisition related expenses continue to bother.”

Several other analysts have also recently issued reports on CNC. Deutsche Bank AG initiated coverage on Centene Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, April 5th. They set a buy rating and a $84.00 price objective on the stock. Jefferies Group LLC restated a buy rating and set a $79.00 price objective on shares of Centene Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, April 19th. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a buy rating and set a $88.00 price objective (up previously from $85.00) on shares of Centene Corporation in a research note on Tuesday, April 25th. Stifel Nicolaus upped their price objective on Centene Corporation from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 26th. Finally, Evercore ISI upped their price objective on Centene Corporation from $80.00 to $83.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 26th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, fifteen have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $86.82.

Centene Corporation (CNC) opened at 82.69 on Thursday. Centene Corporation has a 52-week low of $50.00 and a 52-week high of $87.94. The firm has a market cap of $14.26 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.15 and a beta of 0.67. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $81.36 and its 200 day moving average price is $73.20.

Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 25th. The company reported $1.59 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.30 by $0.29. The firm had revenue of $11.95 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $11.69 billion. Centene Corporation had a return on equity of 14.62% and a net margin of 1.72%. Centene Corporation’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.29 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Centene Corporation will post $4.87 EPS for the current year.

COPYRIGHT VIOLATION WARNING: This article was first reported by Watch List News and is the property of of Watch List News. If you are accessing this article on another domain, it was illegally copied and reposted in violation of U.S. & international copyright & trademark law. The legal version of this article can be viewed at https://www.watchlistnews.com/zacks-investment-research-upgrades-centene-corporation-nysecnc-to-strong-buy/1463609.html.

In related news, Director Robert K. Ditmore sold 4,167 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $82.59, for a total value of $344,152.53. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, SVP Mark J. Brooks sold 2,161 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.43, for a total value of $163,004.23. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 49,578 shares of company stock worth $3,947,037. 3.00% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Centene Corporation by 3.8% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 15,952,026 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,136,742,000 after buying an additional 590,551 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in Centene Corporation by 3,408.1% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,510,470 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,105,275,000 after buying an additional 15,068,340 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp boosted its stake in Centene Corporation by 2.4% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 7,119,308 shares of the company’s stock valued at $507,340,000 after buying an additional 169,286 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN boosted its stake in Centene Corporation by 11.6% in the first quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 3,730,530 shares of the company’s stock valued at $265,837,000 after buying an additional 386,874 shares in the last quarter. Finally, TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in Centene Corporation by 33.6% in the first quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 2,132,087 shares of the company’s stock valued at $151,933,000 after buying an additional 536,721 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 93.60% of the company’s stock.

About Centene Corporation

Centene Corporation is a healthcare company. The Company provides a portfolio of services to government sponsored healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. The Company operates through two segments: Managed Care and Specialty Services. The Company’s Managed Care segment provides health plan coverage to individuals, through government subsidized programs, including Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Long Term Care, Foster Care, dual-eligible individuals (Duals) and the Supplemental Security Income Program, also known as the Aged, Blind or Disabled Program (ABD), Medicare, and Health Insurance Marketplace.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Centene Corporation (CNC)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC)

Receive News & Ratings for Centene Corporation Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Centene Corporation and related companies with Analyst Ratings Network's FREE daily email newsletter.