Centene Corporation (CNC): Today's Featured Health Care Winner

Centene Corporation ( CNC) pushed the Health Care sector higher today making it today's featured health care winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.7%. By the end of trading, Centene Corporation rose $2.12 (6.1%) to $36.76 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 4.1 million shares of Centene Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.5 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $34.62-$37.92 after having opened the day at $34.67 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $34.64. Other companies within the Health Care sector that increased today were: Sarepta Therapeutics ( SRPT), up 146.2%, Dynacq Healthcare ( DYII), up 38.8%, Graymark Healthcare ( GRMH), up 24.4%, and Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners ( CPRX), up 22.7%.

Centene Corporation operates as a multiline healthcare company in the United States. It operates through two segments, Medicaid Managed Care and Specialty Services. Centene Corporation has a market cap of $1.9 billion and is part of the health services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.5, equal to the average health services industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 12.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are seven analysts that rate Centene Corporation a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and seven rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Centene Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in net income and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

On the negative front, Savient Pharmaceuticals ( SVNT), down 17.9%, K-V Pharmaceutical Company ( KV.A), down 17.1%, CytRx Corporation ( CYTR), down 15.3%, and Elan ( ELN), down 14.7%, were all laggards within the health care sector with Merck ( MRK) being today's health care sector laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the health care sector could consider Health Care Select Sector SPDR ( XLV) while those bearish on the health care sector could consider ProShares Ultra Short Health Care ( RXD).

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