UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) projected a 5% increase in 2013 earnings on Monday, but Wall Street had been anticipating stronger growth from the largest U.S. private health insurer.
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Shares of the newest member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated about 1% in the wake of the weaker-than-expected guidance.
A day before its annual investor conference in New York, UnitedHealth forecasted 2013 EPS of $5.25 to $5.50, which is well below the Street’s view of $5.58.
Management also forecast 2013 revenue of $123 billion to $124 billion, compared with consensus calls from analysts for $119.12 billion.
For the current year, UnitedHealth reaffirmed its prior outlook for EPS of $5.20 to $5.25. Even the high end of that new range would trail the Street’s view of $5.27.
Wall Street reacted somewhat negatively to the new outlook from UnitedHealth, driving shares of the Minnetonka, Minn.-based company down 0.96% to $53.40 in premarket trading. The stock has gained about 6% so far this year, underperforming the broader markets, and 23% over the past 12 months.