Centene (NYSE:CNC) Given New $103.00 Price Target at Morgan Stanley

Centene (NYSE:CNCGet Rating) had its target price reduced by investment analysts at Morgan Stanley from $112.00 to $103.00 in a report released on Thursday, Stock Target Advisor reports. The brokerage presently has an “overweight” rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 22.66% from the company’s previous close.

Several other analysts have also recently weighed in on CNC. Sanford C. Bernstein initiated coverage on shares of Centene in a research note on Thursday, May 26th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $108.00 price target for the company. Loop Capital initiated coverage on shares of Centene in a report on Thursday, June 16th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $100.00 price objective on the stock. Wells Fargo & Company decreased their price objective 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. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft upped their price objective on shares of Centene from $88.00 to $91.00 in a report on Wednesday. Finally, Credit Suisse Group upgraded shares of Centene from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $86.00 to $88.00 in a report on Tuesday. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, sixteen have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, Centene has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average target price of $92.44.

NYSE CNC traded up $2.10 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $83.97. 24,427 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,842,741. Centene has a 52-week low of $59.67 and a 52-week high of $89.92. The company has a market capitalization of $49.11 billion, a PE ratio of 33.32, a PEG ratio of 1.01 and a beta of 0.52. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.68, a current ratio of 1.05 and a quick ratio of 1.05. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $82.28 and its 200-day moving average is $82.27.

Centene (NYSE:CNCGet Rating) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 26th. The company reported $1.83 earnings per share for the quarter, beating 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 during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $34.48 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.63 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 24.0% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Centene will post 5.63 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Centene announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback plan on Friday, June 17th that permits the company to repurchase $3.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to repurchase up to 6.3% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Centene news, EVP Shannon Bagley sold 8,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, April 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.99, for a total transaction of $647,920.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 128,353 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $10,395,309.47. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Theodore R. Samuels II acquired 6,270 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, April 28th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $80.94 per share, for a total transaction of $507,493.80. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 11,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $890,340. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Company insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. EverSource Wealth Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Centene in the 4th quarter worth $26,000. GHP Investment Advisors Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Centene in the 1st quarter worth $27,000. Massmutual Trust Co. FSB ADV lifted its stake in shares of Centene by 269.3% in the 4th quarter. Massmutual Trust Co. FSB ADV now owns 325 shares of the company’s stock worth $27,000 after acquiring an additional 237 shares during the period. Chilton Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Centene in the 4th quarter worth $28,000. Finally, Hanson & Doremus Investment Management acquired a new stake in shares of Centene in the 4th quarter worth $29,000. Institutional investors own 92.32% of the company’s stock.

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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