UnitedHealth says fourth quarter earnings rose

UnitedHealth Group Inc , the largest U.S. health insurer, said on Thursday that fourth-quarter profit rose from a year earlier, exceeding the outlook it gave in November, and also backed its previous forecast for earnings and revenue growth in 2013.

The company said fourth quarter profit rose to $1.20 per share from $1.17 per share a year earlier. Revenue rose to $28.8 billion from $25.9 billion a year earlier.

Analysts had been expecting fourth quarter 2012 earnings of $1.19 per share and sales of $28.2 billion.

(Reporting By Caroline Humer; Editing by Alden Bentley)