Centene Target of Unusually Large Options Trading (CNC)

Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC) was the recipient of unusually large options trading on Thursday. Stock investors purchased 4,216 put options on the stock. This is an increase of 1,256% compared to the average volume of 311 put options.

Shares of NYSE:CNC opened at $135.44 on Friday. Centene has a 1 year low of $94.69 and a 1 year high of $148.98. The company has a market cap of $29.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.93, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.34 and a beta of 1.06. The company has a quick ratio of 1.03, a current ratio of 1.03 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.59.

Centene (NYSE:CNC) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, October 23rd. The company reported $1.79 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.77 by $0.02. Centene had a return on equity of 14.42% and a net margin of 1.58%. The business had revenue of $16.18 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $15.93 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.35 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 36.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Centene will post 7.05 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Centene news, EVP Keith H. Williamson sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $145.00, for a total transaction of $290,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Christopher D. Bowers sold 3,800 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $145.55, for a total value of $553,090.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 35,800 shares of company stock worth $4,957,590 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 3.00% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. B & T Capital Management DBA Alpha Capital Management boosted its position in shares of Centene by 3.4% during the third quarter. B & T Capital Management DBA Alpha Capital Management now owns 11,766 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,703,000 after buying an additional 390 shares during the period. Martingale Asset Management L P boosted its position in shares of Centene by 5.7% during the second quarter. Martingale Asset Management L P now owns 7,313 shares of the company’s stock valued at $902,000 after buying an additional 397 shares during the period. State Treasurer State of Michigan boosted its position in shares of Centene by 0.7% during the third quarter. State Treasurer State of Michigan now owns 61,124 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,850,000 after buying an additional 400 shares during the period. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Centene by 5.7% during the third quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. now owns 7,611 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,102,000 after buying an additional 410 shares during the period. Finally, Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its position in shares of Centene by 0.7% during the third quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 63,409 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,180,000 after buying an additional 419 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 88.88% of the company’s stock.

Several brokerages have weighed in on CNC. Credit Suisse Group boosted their price objective on Centene from $134.00 to $152.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 4th. Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on Centene from $138.00 to $175.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 5th. MED boosted their price objective on Centene from $146.00 to $158.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 2nd. Oppenheimer boosted their price objective on Centene from $146.00 to $158.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 2nd. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised Centene from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 4th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $151.67.

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About Centene

Centene Corporation operates as a diversified and multi-national healthcare enterprise that provides programs and services to under-insured and uninsured individuals in the United States. It operates through two segments, Managed Care and Specialty Services. The Managed Care segment offers health plan coverage to individuals through government subsidized programs, including Medicaid, the State children's health insurance program, long-term care, foster care, and dual eligible individual, as well as aged, blind, or disabled programs.

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