Centene Co. (NYSE:CNC – Get Rating) was the recipient of a large drop in short interest in the month of December. As of December 30th, there was short interest totalling 6,340,000 shares, a drop of 12.9% from the December 15th total of 7,280,000 shares. Currently, 1.1% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 3,600,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 1.8 days.
Wall Street Analysts Forecast Growth
Several research analysts recently commented on CNC shares. Argus lifted their target price on shares of Centene from $95.00 to $99.00 in a report on Wednesday, December 14th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. dropped their target price on shares of Centene from $103.00 to $98.00 and set an "overweight" rating on the stock in a report on Friday, January 6th. StockNews.com upgraded shares of Centene from a "buy" rating to a "strong-buy" rating in a research report on Monday, January 16th. Credit Suisse Group raised their price target on shares of Centene from $104.00 to $106.00 and gave the stock an "outperform" rating in a research report on Monday, December 19th. Finally, Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft decreased their price target on shares of Centene from $99.00 to $94.00 in a research report on Wednesday, October 26th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating, twelve have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. According to MarketBeat, the stock currently has a consensus rating of "Moderate Buy" and a consensus target price of $101.35.Get Centene alerts:
Hedge Funds Weigh In On Centene
A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Baker Tilly Wealth Management LLC boosted its position in Centene by 1.4% in the second quarter. Baker Tilly Wealth Management LLC now owns 8,219 shares of the company's stock valued at $695,000 after buying an additional 110 shares in the last quarter. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC boosted its position in Centene by 0.5% in the second quarter. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC now owns 25,928 shares of the company's stock valued at $2,194,000 after buying an additional 119 shares in the last quarter. Bay Colony Advisory Group Inc d b a Bay Colony Advisors raised its stake in shares of Centene by 4.9% in the third quarter. Bay Colony Advisory Group Inc d b a Bay Colony Advisors now owns 2,700 shares of the company's stock worth $210,000 after acquiring an additional 125 shares during the last quarter. Vestmark Advisory Solutions Inc. raised its stake in shares of Centene by 3.9% in the second quarter. Vestmark Advisory Solutions Inc. now owns 3,478 shares of the company's stock worth $294,000 after acquiring an additional 130 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Leavell Investment Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Centene by 1.2% in the second quarter. Leavell Investment Management Inc. now owns 11,219 shares of the company's stock worth $949,000 after acquiring an additional 135 shares during the last quarter. 93.28% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Centene Price PerformanceShares of Centene stock traded down $0.36 during trading on Monday, hitting $75.79. 2,896,092 shares of the company's stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 3,805,057. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.71, a current ratio of 1.06 and a quick ratio of 1.06. The firm's fifty day moving average price is $81.44 and its 200 day moving average price is $84.65. Centene has a twelve month low of $73.19 and a twelve month high of $98.53. The company has a market cap of $42.92 billion, a PE ratio of 22.10, a PEG ratio of 0.90 and a beta of 0.60.
Centene (NYSE:CNC – Get Rating) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.30 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts' consensus estimates of $1.22 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $35.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $35.45 billion. Centene had a net margin of 1.42% and a return on equity of 13.08%. The company's revenue for the quarter was up 10.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.26 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Centene will post 5.72 earnings per share for the current year.
Centene declared that its board has approved a share buyback plan on Friday, December 16th that permits the company to repurchase $2.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to purchase up to 4.3% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company's leadership believes its shares are undervalued.
Centene Company Profile
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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