Investors Buy Large Volume of Put Options on Centene (CNC)

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

A number of equities analysts recently weighed in on CNC shares. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group started coverage on shares of Centene in a report on Wednesday, September 19th. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $170.00 price objective for the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Centene from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, October 4th. Oppenheimer boosted their price objective on shares of Centene from $146.00 to $158.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 2nd. Credit Suisse Group boosted their price objective on shares of Centene from $134.00 to $152.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday, September 4th. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on shares of Centene from $138.00 to $175.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, September 5th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $151.67.

Shares of CNC opened at $135.44 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $29.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.93, a P/E/G 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 has a 1-year low of $94.69 and a 1-year high of $148.98.

Centene (NYSE:CNC) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 23rd. The company reported $1.79 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.77 by $0.02. Centene had a net margin of 1.58% and a return on equity of 14.42%. The firm had revenue of $16.18 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $15.93 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.35 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 36.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts expect that Centene will post 7.05 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, 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 sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Robert K. Ditmore sold 15,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $129.24, for a total value of $1,938,600.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 35,800 shares of company stock worth $4,957,590. Insiders own 3.00% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Csenge Advisory Group bought a new stake in shares of Centene during the 3rd quarter valued at $105,000. FNY Investment Advisers LLC bought a new stake in shares of Centene during the 3rd quarter valued at $106,000. Capital Guardian Trust Co. bought a new stake in shares of Centene during the 3rd quarter valued at $111,000. Fort L.P. bought a new stake in shares of Centene during the 2nd quarter valued at $122,000. Finally, Resources Management Corp CT ADV bought a new stake in shares of Centene during the 3rd quarter valued at $155,000. 88.88% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Centene Company Profile

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.

Further Reading: Asset Allocation and Your Retirement

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