Loop Capital Initiates Coverage on Centene (NYSE:CNC)

Investment analysts at Loop Capital initiated coverage on shares of Centene (NYSE:CNCGet Rating) in a note issued to investors on Thursday, The Fly reports. The firm set a “buy” rating on the stock.

CNC has been the topic of several other research reports. Wells Fargo & Company lowered their target price on shares of Centene from $96.00 to $95.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, May 25th. StockNews.com assumed coverage on shares of Centene in a report on Thursday, March 31st. They set a “strong-buy” rating on the stock. Bank of America lowered shares of Centene from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and decreased their price objective for the stock from $95.00 to $90.00 in a report on Thursday, May 26th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein began coverage on shares of Centene in a research note on Thursday, May 26th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $108.00 target price on the stock. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, sixteen have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Based on data from MarketBeat, the company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $91.72.

Shares of CNC traded down $0.76 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $76.70. The stock had a trading volume of 162,837 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,840,886. The company’s fifty day moving average is $83.16 and its two-hundred day moving average is $82.04. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.68, a current ratio of 1.05 and a quick ratio of 1.05. Centene has a 52 week low of $59.67 and a 52 week high of $89.92. The stock has a market capitalization of $44.86 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.44, a P/E/G ratio of 1.02 and a beta of 0.52.

Centene (NYSE:CNCGet Rating) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, April 26th. The company reported $1.83 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.68 by $0.15. Centene had a net margin of 1.12% and a return on equity of 11.82%. The business had revenue of $37.19 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $34.48 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.63 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 24.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts predict that Centene will post 5.49 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, EVP Mark J. Brooks sold 3,690 shares of Centene stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $82.71, for a total value of $305,199.90. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Theodore R. Samuels II acquired 6,270 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 28th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $80.94 per share, for a total transaction of $507,493.80. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now directly owns 11,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $890,340. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Company insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Centene by 1.8% during the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 63,607,238 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,355,094,000 after buying an additional 1,121,697 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors grew its holdings in shares of Centene by 7.9% during the first quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 50,535,746 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,254,604,000 after purchasing an additional 3,683,887 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Centene by 1.7% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 41,847,249 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,523,119,000 after purchasing an additional 689,076 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its holdings in shares of Centene by 14.3% during the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 26,720,429 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,249,594,000 after purchasing an additional 3,350,045 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp grew its holdings in shares of Centene by 3.2% during the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 24,533,423 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,021,554,000 after purchasing an additional 769,329 shares during the last quarter. 92.32% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Centene (Get Rating)

Centene Corporation operates as a multi-national healthcare enterprise that provides programs and services to under-insured and uninsured individuals in the United States. Its 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 cover dually eligible individuals, as well as aged, blind, or disabled programs.

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