Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Cerner (CERN) to “Hold”

Cerner (NASDAQ:CERN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “We believe that Cerner Corporation has growth opportunities in the revenue cycle management (RCM), Population Health and ambulatory markets based on its product strength and enviable track record.Additionally, a growing percentage of higher margin software in the business mix is expected to drive margins. The company performed impressively in the ambulatory and small hospital markets lately. Cerner has had an impressive run on the bourses in the last year.  However, Cerner Corporation faces currency headwind and macroeconomic challenges. Unfavorable currency translation is also expected to weigh on its sales and earnings in the coming quarters. In recent times, System sales witnessed a major deterioration owing to a decline in technology resale. Furthermore, the HCIT market is highly competitive, which exerts considerable pressure on both pricing and margins.”

Other research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Cerner in a report on Wednesday, October 25th. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $79.00 price target on shares of Cerner in a report on Thursday, October 19th. Jefferies Group set a $79.00 price target on shares of Cerner and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, October 13th. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 target price on shares of Cerner in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reissued a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 target price on shares of Cerner in a research note on Tuesday, October 10th. Fifteen equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $69.50.

Cerner (NASDAQ CERN) opened at $67.61 on Tuesday. Cerner has a fifty-two week low of $47.09 and a fifty-two week high of $73.86. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.11, a current ratio of 2.77 and a quick ratio of 2.75. The company has a market cap of $22,360.00, a PE ratio of 33.64, a PEG ratio of 2.18 and a beta of 0.94.

Cerner (NASDAQ:CERN) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The company reported $0.61 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.62 by ($0.01). Cerner had a net margin of 13.37% and a return on equity of 18.03%. The business had revenue of $1.28 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.29 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.59 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 7.7% on a year-over-year basis. analysts anticipate that Cerner will post 2.24 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, CEO Clifford W. Illig sold 140,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.52, for a total value of $9,172,800.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 1,229,719 shares in the company, valued at approximately $80,571,188.88. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Clifford W. Illig sold 530,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.54, for a total transaction of $34,736,200.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now owns 1,229,719 shares in the company, valued at $80,595,783.26. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 788,000 shares of company stock valued at $52,190,800. Company insiders own 13.11% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in CERN. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Cerner by 3.1% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 29,296,545 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,947,341,000 after purchasing an additional 876,919 shares in the last quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership acquired a new stake in shares of Cerner during the second quarter valued at approximately $44,524,000. Sawgrass Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Cerner during the third quarter valued at approximately $39,946,000. Veritas Asset Management LLP raised its holdings in shares of Cerner by 10.9% during the second quarter. Veritas Asset Management LLP now owns 3,519,272 shares of the company’s stock valued at $233,926,000 after acquiring an additional 346,372 shares during the period. Finally, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. raised its holdings in shares of Cerner by 381.0% during the second quarter. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. now owns 429,846 shares of the company’s stock valued at $28,572,000 after acquiring an additional 340,486 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 81.82% of the company’s stock.

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Cerner Company Profile

Cerner Corporation (Cerner) is a supplier of healthcare information technology (HCIT). The Company offers a range of intelligent solutions and services that support the clinical, financial and operational needs of organizations of all sizes. The Company’s segments include Domestic and Global. The Domestic segment includes revenue contributions and expenditures associated with business activity in the United States.

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