Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Year to date, Centene’s shares have outperformed the industry. The company’s strong and consistent performance is likely to have generated confidence among the investors. 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 contributes to its strong results. Its second-quarter 2017 earnings per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and improved year over year on the back of higher revenues. However, it suffers from rising level of debt and increasing borrowing cost that keeps draining the bottom-line. Growing  acquisition related expenses also continue to bother.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on CNC. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $94.00 price objective on shares of Centene Corporation in a research note on Friday, July 14th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Centene Corporation from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, June 24th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Centene Corporation from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 13th. Citigroup Inc. raised their target price on shares of Centene Corporation from $80.00 to $89.00 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 26th. Finally, UBS AG restated a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 target price (up from $88.00) on shares of Centene Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, July 26th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. Centene Corporation presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $86.82.

Centene Corporation (CNC) traded down 0.16% during trading on Friday, hitting $83.06. 660,306 shares of the stock traded hands. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $81.53 and a 200 day moving average price of $73.62. Centene Corporation has a 12 month low of $50.00 and a 12 month high of $87.94. The firm has a market cap of $14.33 billion, a PE ratio of 18.23 and a beta of 0.66.

Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 25th. The company reported $1.59 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.29. Centene Corporation had a net margin of 1.72% and a return on equity of 14.62%. The firm had revenue of $11.95 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $11.69 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.29 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 9.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that Centene Corporation will post $4.92 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, EVP Christopher D. Bowers sold 4,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.43, for a total transaction of $317,720.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Robert K. Ditmore sold 3,900 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, June 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.43, for a total transaction of $294,177.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 53,578 shares of company stock valued at $4,264,757. Corporate insiders own 3.00% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Kentucky Retirement Systems acquired a new position in shares of Centene Corporation during the fourth quarter valued at about $701,000. Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund acquired a new position in shares of Centene Corporation during the fourth quarter valued at about $313,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. boosted its position in shares of Centene Corporation by 15.2% in the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 92,969 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,254,000 after buying an additional 12,250 shares during the period. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. boosted its position in shares of Centene Corporation by 3.9% in the first quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 148,296 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,567,000 after buying an additional 5,499 shares during the period. Finally, CENTRAL TRUST Co boosted its position in shares of Centene Corporation by 5.0% in the first quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 6,342 shares of the company’s stock valued at $452,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the period. 93.60% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC)

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