Citigroup Inc lowered shares of Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC) from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday morning. The brokerage currently has $73.00 price objective on the stock.

Several other research firms have also weighed in on CNC. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Centene Corp from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, February 16th. Leerink Swann restated a market perform rating and set a $64.00 price objective (up previously from $62.00) on shares of Centene Corp in a research report on Thursday, February 9th. Cantor Fitzgerald restated an overweight rating and set a $85.00 price objective on shares of Centene Corp in a research report on Saturday, March 11th. Barclays PLC raised their target price on shares of Centene Corp from $75.00 to $79.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Wednesday, February 8th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC raised their target price on shares of Centene Corp from $67.00 to $79.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, February 8th. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $77.75.

Shares of Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC) opened at 71.70 on Thursday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $70.10 and its 200 day moving average is $63.66. The stock has a market capitalization of $12.33 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.92 and a beta of 0.69. Centene Corp has a 1-year low of $50.00 and a 1-year high of $75.57.

Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 7th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.11 by $0.08. Centene Corp had a net margin of 1.37% and a return on equity of 12.83%. The company earned $11.91 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.94 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.95 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 89.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that Centene Corp will post $4.70 EPS for the current year.

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In other news, EVP Jesse N. Hunter sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, February 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $69.54, for a total value of $347,700.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CFO Jeffrey A. Schwaneke sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $68.52, for a total transaction of $137,040.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 13,000 shares of company stock worth $904,920 in the last 90 days. 4.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in CNC. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD boosted its position in Centene Corp by 45.0% in the third quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 16,730,264 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,120,258,000 after buying an additional 5,194,394 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp boosted its position in Centene Corp by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 6,950,022 shares of the company’s stock worth $392,749,000 after buying an additional 266,208 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its position in Centene Corp by 3.0% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 4,472,373 shares of the company’s stock worth $299,470,000 after buying an additional 129,837 shares in the last quarter. Winslow Capital Management LLC boosted its position in Centene Corp by 1.9% in the third quarter. Winslow Capital Management LLC now owns 4,195,035 shares of the company’s stock worth $280,899,000 after buying an additional 78,275 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN boosted its stake in shares of Centene Corp by 4.0% in the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 3,433,282 shares of the company’s stock valued at $229,892,000 after buying an additional 133,154 shares in the last quarter. 94.14% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Centene Corp

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.

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