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Cerner Reports in Line; Initiates Dividend

Health information services provider Cerner Corp. (NASDAQ: CERN – $57.99) reported fourth quarter revenue of $1.366 billion, an increase of 4% compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, but about 2% less than analysts were expecting. Adjusted net earnings for the period was $208.1 million, compared to $195.7 million a year ago.  Adjusted earnings per share was in line with Street views of $0.63 and compared to $0.58 last year. Full-year 2018 revenue was $5.366 billion, up 4% compared to 2017 revenue and 2018 full-year earnings per share settled at $2.45, compared to $2.38 for all of 2017.  Fourth quarter free cash flow was $201.3 million and $733.4 million for the full year. Total revenue backlog as of the end of 2018 stood at $15.25 billion.           

       For the first quarter of 2019, Cerner is projecting revenue of between $1.365 billion and $1.415 billion and adjusted earnings per share of between $0.60 and $0.62, on the low-end of consensus of $0.62. The company also predicts new business booking of about $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion for the first quarter.  Cerner plans to initiate a quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per share, with the first payment expected in the third quarter of 2019.  On an annualized basis, this would represent a yield of just over 1% based on the current stock price.  The Company believes the dividend, combined with ongoing share repurchases, will enhance shareholder value while maintaining ample resources to fund ongoing investments in growth and strategic opportunities. Shares of the Kansas City-based technology company, up about 4 ½ % in early trading, can be held for long-term growth.

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