Aetna tops Street 3Q expectations, narrows 2016 forecast

Markets Associated Press

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, file photo, a pedestrian walks past a sign for Aetna Inc., at the company headquarters in Hartford, Conn. Aetna reports financial results Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, file photo, a pedestrian walks past a sign for Aetna Inc., at the company headquarters in Hartford, Conn. Aetna reports financial results Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File) (The Associated Press)

Aetna's third-quarter earnings rose nearly 8 percent to Wall Street forecasts, as cost cutting and a growing government business helped counter higher costs from its Affordable Care Act business.

Continue Reading Below

The nation's third-largest health insurer earned $603.9 million in the three months that ended Sept. 30. That's up from the $560.1 million last year. Adjusted earnings came in at $2.07 per share and operating revenue rose 5 percent to $15.74 billion.

Industry analysts had expected earnings of $2.04 per share on $15.73 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Aetna, based in Hartford, Connecticut, also narrowed its 2016 forecast. It now expects full-year adjusted earnings ranging from $7.95 to $8.05 per share.

Analysts project $8.06 per share.