Why UnitedHealth Earnings Aren’t Enough

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UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) released its second-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Tuesday. The company said that it had $3.14 in earnings per share (EPS) and $56.1 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates of $3.04 in EPS and revenue of $56.09 billion. In the same period of last year, the managed health care giant said it had EPS of $2.46 on $50.05 billion in revenue.

UnitedHealthcare grew to serve 2.2 million more consumers year over year in the second quarter of 2018, with revenues growing by $5.1 billion, or 12.4%, to $45.8 billion. Revenue growth was driven by an increasing number of people served, a higher revenue membership mix and pricing increases to cover expected medical cost trends. Second-quarter 2018 earnings from operations grew 6.6% to $2.4 billion.

Based on first half 2018 results and the business outlook for the balance of the year, the company has raised its guidance for 2018 EPS to a range of $12.50 to $12.75 per share, and it now expects cash flows from operations to approach $15.5 billion. The consensus estimates call for $12.62 in EPS and $225.5 billion in revenue for the year.

UnitedHealth Group repurchased 2.2 million shares for $500 million in the second quarter, bringing year-to-date purchases to 13.8 million shares for $3.15 billion.

Dividends paid to shareholders were $866 million in the second quarter and reflected raising the annual dividend payment rate by 20% to $3.60 per share in June 2018.

David S. Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth, commented:

Today, UnitedHealth Group delivers increasing value to more people, driven by strong execution, consistently high quality, deep relationships and our distinctive combination of clinical, technology and information capabilities. As we look ahead, we will drive our growth on the strength of practical innovations that anticipate and respond to increasing consumer expectations and clear social needs.

Shares of UnitedHealth were last seen down about 3% at $249.20, with a consensus analyst price target of $280.33 and a 52-week trading range of $183.86 to $259.01.

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