Healthcare Stocks Extending Recent Gains; Centene Climbs Over 12% After Topping Q1 Earnings Expectations

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Healthcare stocks were broadly higher Tuesday with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index gaining 1.4% near the close and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 advancing over 1.5% as a group.

In company news, Centene ( CNC ) was holding on to a double-digit advance just ahead of the closing bell Tuesday after beating analyst estimates with its Q! results.

The Medicare-services provider reporting per-share net income of $0.57 per share during the three months ended March 31, besting the Capital IQ consensus by $0.12 per share. Revenue rose 31.9% year over year to $3.35 billion, exceeding expectations by around $100 million.

Looking to FY14 ending in December, CNC said it expects per-share earnings of between $3.60 and $3.90, in-line with the Street view anticipating $3.62 per share. Revenue is seen rising as much as 36% over the prior year to a range of $14.2 billion to $14.8 billion for the year, also bracketing the analyst consensus expecting around $14.58 billion in revenue this year.

CNC shares were up 12.3% at $64.33 each shortly before the closing bell, earlier climbing to a session high of $67.34, or just 50 cents off its 52-week high.

In other sector news,

(+) IMUC, Abstract describing Phase II trial of its ICT-107 dendritic cell-based cancer vaccine in newly diagnosed glioblastoma was accepted for oral presentation at the American Society for Clinical Oncology meeting in late May.

(-) AZN, Reportedly rebuffs a $100 billion takeover offer by Pfizer ( PFE ), giving back a portion of Monday's 8% advance. Neither company has confirmed the market rumors.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: CNC , PFE

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