UnitedHealth Earnings Show Why It Is a Top Dow Stock

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UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) released its third-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Tuesday. The company said that it had $3.41 in earnings per share (EPS) and $56.56 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates of 3.29 in EPS and revenue of $56.34 billion. In the same period of last year, the managed health care giant said it had EPS of $2.66 on $50.32 billion in revenue.

During the quarter, UnitedHealthcare grew to serve 2.8 million more consumers year-over-year in the third quarter of 2018, with revenues growing by $5.2 billion, or 12.8%, to $45.9 billion. Revenue growth was driven by an increasing number of people served, greater membership growth in higher acuity programs, pricing to cover expected medical cost trends and resumption of the health insurance tax for 2018.

The company repurchased 1.9 million shares in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date purchases to 15.7 million shares for $3.65 billion. Dividends paid to shareholders were $866 million in the third quarter, reflecting the 20% increase in the company’s dividend rate in June 2018.

Looking ahead to the full year, the company now expects to see EPS at $12.80, up from the previous range of $12.50 to $12.75. Consensus estimates call for $12.70 in EPS and $225.31 billion in revenue for the year.

David S. Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth, commented:

These results reflect our businesses delivering increased value at an accelerating pace to society and the millions of people we serve – one person at a time.

Shares of UnitedHealth traded up 2.6% early Tuesday at $266.96, with a consensus analyst price target of $295.05 and a 52-week range of $196.37 to $272.07.