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

Centene Corporation ( CNC) pushed the Health Care sector lower today making it today's featured Health Care laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 1.4%. By the end of trading, Centene Corporation fell 28 cents (-0.8%) to $36.76 on light volume. Throughout the day, 708,474 shares of Centene Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.6 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $36.48-$37.49 after having opened the day at $37.11 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $37.04. Other company's within the Health Care sector that declined today were: Obagi Medical Products ( OMPI), down 18.6%, Rosetta Genomics ( ROSG), down 17.2%, Cormedix ( CRMD), down 16.6%, and Health Net ( HNT), down 15.8%.

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 $1.93 billion and is part of the health services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 41.2, below the average health services industry P/E ratio of 42.1 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 5.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are seven analysts that rate Centene Corporation a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Centene Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

On the positive front, Sunrise Senior Living ( SRZ), up 15.2%, Senesco Technologies ( SNT), up 15.1%, Sequenom ( SQNM), up 14.7%, and Kips Bay Medical ( KIPS), up 13.2%, were all gainers within the health care sector with Amgen ( AMGN) being today's featured health care sector leader.

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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