Centene Corp. (NYSE:CNC) shares shot up 4.7% on Wednesday . The company traded as high as $72.67 and last traded at $72.10, with a volume of 2,173,111 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $68.86.

A number of research firms have weighed in on CNC. FBR & Co reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $90.00 target price on shares of Centene Corp. in a research note on Tuesday, July 26th. Vetr cut shares of Centene Corp. from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $81.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, July 20th. Credit Suisse Group AG reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Centene Corp. in a research note on Tuesday, June 28th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Centene Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co. reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Centene Corp. in a research note on Monday, June 20th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $80.31.

The company’s 50-day moving average is $70.46 and its 200-day moving average is $62.85. The firm has a market cap of $12.23 billion and a P/E ratio of 27.65.

Centene Corp. (NYSE:CNC) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $1.29 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.09 by $0.20. The business had revenue of $10.90 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.80 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.72 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 97.9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Centene Corp. will post $4.34 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, SVP Mark J. Brooks sold 3,914 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.01, for a total transaction of $254,449.14. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 30,605 shares in the company, valued at $1,989,631.05. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Keith H. Williamson sold 4,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.00, for a total transaction of $280,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Centene Corp. by 2.1% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 1,117,884 shares of the company’s stock valued at $73,568,000 after buying an additional 22,705 shares in the last quarter. US Bancorp DE increased its position in shares of Centene Corp. by 5.0% in the fourth quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 38,874 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,557,000 after buying an additional 1,847 shares in the last quarter. Systematic Financial Management LP increased its position in shares of Centene Corp. by 270.4% in the fourth quarter. Systematic Financial Management LP now owns 955,337 shares of the company’s stock valued at $62,870,000 after buying an additional 697,436 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its position in shares of Centene Corp. by 15.9% in the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 1,547,023 shares of the company’s stock valued at $101,809,000 after buying an additional 211,761 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Trexquant Investment LP increased its position in shares of Centene Corp. by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. Trexquant Investment LP now owns 31,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,066,000 after buying an additional 1,217 shares in the last quarter.

Centene Corporation is a diversified healthcare company that provides programs and services to government sponsored healthcare programs. The Company also provides education and outreach programs to inform and assist members in accessing appropriate healthcare services. The Company operates through two segments.

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