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, Feb. 7. Centene is a multi-line health-care enterprise operating in two segments: Medicaid managed care and specialty services.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: The majority of analysts back Centene as a buy. But with 53.3% of analysts rating it a buy, Centene is still below the mean analyst rating of its nearest 10 competitors, which average 60% buys. Analysts like Centene better than competitor WellCare Health Plans overall. Two out of 12 analysts rate WellCare Health Plans a buy compared to eight of 15 for Centene. Analysts still rate the stock a hold, but they are a bit more wary about it compared to three months ago.
  • Revenue forecasts: On average, analysts predict $1.44 billion in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 22% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street earnings expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.55 per share. Estimates range from $0.48 to $0.60.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are strongly supporting the stock, with 98.6% awarding it an "outperform" rating. The community at large agrees with the All-Stars, with 93.3% giving it a rating of "outperform." Fools feel positively about Centene, though the message boards have been quiet lately with only 40 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 14.6% over the past five quarters. Revenue has now gone up for three straight quarters.

Now let's get some insight into how efficient management is at running the business. Traditionally, margins serve as an illustration of how efficiently a company captures portions of sales dollars. Centene's net margins are up for the last two quarters year-over-year. Net margins reflect what percentage of each dollar earned by the company becomes profit. Here is how Centene has been doing for the last four quarters:






Net Margin





For all our Centene-specific analysis, including earnings and beyond, add Centene to My Watchlist.

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Earnings estimates provided by Zacks.

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