Investors are on the edge of their collective seats, hoping that Centene (NYSE: CNC) will top analyst expectations for the fifth consecutive quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Tuesday. Centene is a multiline health care enterprise operating in two segments: Medicaid managed care and specialty services.

What analysts say

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts think investors should stand pat on Centene with nine of 14 analysts rating it hold. Analysts don't like Centene as much as competitor Magellan Health Services overall. Five out of six analysts rate Magellan Health Services a buy compared to four of 14 for Centene. While analysts still rate the stock a hold, they are a little more optimistic about it compared to three months ago.
  • Revenue forecasts: On average, analysts predict $1.3 billion in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 20.4% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street earnings expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.53 per share. Estimates range from $0.45 to $0.65.

What our community says
CAPS All-Stars are solidly backing the stock with 97.5% giving it an outperform rating. The community at large concurs with the All Stars with 93.6% assigning it a rating of outperform. Fools are gung-ho about Centene, though the message boards have been quiet lately with only 38 posts in the past 30 days. Centene has a bullish CAPS rating of five out of five stars that is about on par with the Fool community assessment.

Centene's profit has risen year over year by an average of 6.3%. Revenue has now gone up for three straight quarters.

Now let's look at how efficient management is at running the business. Traditionally, margins represent the efficiency with which companies capture portions of sales dollars. The following table shows net margins over the past four quarters.






Net Margin





One final thing: If you want to keep tabs on Centene movements, and for more analysis on the company, make sure you add it to your watchlist.

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