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Here's Why You Should Hold on to Cerner (CERN) Stock for Now

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A slew of developments and a strong view for 2019 are working in favor of Cerner Corporation (CERN - Free Report) at present. However, an intensely competitive industry is concerning.

Over the past year, the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has lost 3.1% against the industry's 7.2% rally. The current level also compares unfavorably with the S&P 500 index’s 4.6% gain.

What’s Deterring the Stock?

Cerner faces cutthroat competition from Healthcare IT bigwigs like athenahealth and Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, which might affect both pricing and margins.

Additionally, for the first quarter of 2019, business bookings are expected in the range of $1.10-$1.30 billion. The midpoint of this range reflects a 14% decline year over year.


Why Should You Retain Cerner?


Cerner has been witnessing a slew of developments in recent times.

Recently, the company expanded its reach in the Alabama rural health care market through a new collaboration with the Escambia County Healthcare Authority. Notably, D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital in Brewton and Atmore Community Hospital in Atmore are to switch to the Cerner Millennium EHR (Electronic Health Record) platform.

Last month, Massachusetts-based Sturdy Memorial Hospital signed a seven-year agreement to upgrade its EHR with Cerner Millennium.

Additionally, Florida-based BayCare Health System is using Cerner’s advanced technologies and services to increase access to care and improve the health status of its patients.

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For the first quarter of 2019, Cerner expects revenues between $1.37 billion and $1.42 billion. Adjusted earnings per share are expected in the band of 60-62 cents.

For 2019, revenues are expected between $5.65 billion and $5.85 billion. Adjusted earnings per share are expected between $2.57 and $2.67.

Which Way Are Estimates Treading?

For the first quarter, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings is pegged at 62 cents, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 6.9%. The same for revenues is pinned at $1.39 billion, showing an increase of 7.6% year over year.

For 2019, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is pinned at $5.75 billion, mirroring growth of 7.1%. The same for earnings stands at $2.62, indicating growth of 6.9% from the previous year.

Key Picks

A few better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are Penumbra, Inc. (PEN - Free Report) , Veeva Systems (VEEV - Free Report) and DexCom. Inc. (DXCM - Free Report) . Notably, each of these stocks currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Penumbra’s long-term earnings growth rate is expected at 20.9%.

Veeva System’s long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 14.8%.

DexCom’s next-quarter earnings per share are projected to grow 120%.

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