UnitedHealth Helps Save the Dow With Q3 Earnings

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When UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) reported its third-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Tuesday, the Minnesota-based health care giant said that it had $3.88 in earnings per share (EPS) and $60.4 billion in revenue. That compared with consensus estimates of $3.75 in EPS and $59.79 billion in revenue, as well as the $3.41 per share and $56.56 billion posted in the same period of last year.

During the latest quarter, total revenues grew $3.8 billion or 6.7% year over year, led by double-digit percentage revenue growth for Optum.

UnitedHealthcare grew to serve 415,000 more people with medical benefits over the past year, driven by growth in commercial and Medicare Advantage membership, and with greater focus on serving people with higher acuity needs. This led to revenue growth of 4.7% to $48.1 billion in the quarter. Third-quarter 2019 earnings from operations at UnitedHealthcare grew by 3.8%, driven by revenue growth and strong cost disciplines.

Optum revenues grew by 13.3% year over year to $28.8 billion, and earnings from operations advanced 16.1%.

Looking ahead to the full year, the company now expects to see EPS in the range of $14.90 to $15.00, up from its previous forecast of $14.70 to $14.90. Consensus estimates call for $14.83 in EPS and $242.07 billion in revenue for the year.

David S. Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth, commented:

Optum and UnitedHealthcare are driving value for our customers, creating momentum to finish the year strongly and move into 2020 with an intense focus on accelerating the growth of our businesses by advancing quality, affordability and satisfaction for those we serve.

Shares of UnitedHealth traded up 6.6% Tuesday morning, at $235.12 in a 52-week range of $208.07 to $287.94. The consensus price target is $287.75.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up fractionally at about 26,936 on last look.


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