Aetna Inc. Earnings: Keeping the Profitability Streak Alive

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Aetna is a health insurance company. It provides its customers, ranging from individuals to employer groups to governmental units, with traditional and consumer-directed health care benefits products and related services, such as medical, pharmaceutical, dental, behavioral health, group life, and disability plans.

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Aetna Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Net income for Aetna Inc. rose to $372.6 million ($1.02 per share) vs. $215.6 million (53 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 72.8% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 0.4% to $8.57 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: Aetna reported adjusted net income of 97 cents per share. By that measure, the company fell short of mean estimate of 98 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $8.49 billion.

Quoting Management: “Our excellent operating performance caps off a strong year for Aetna, our customers and our shareholders,” said Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman, CEO and president. “During 2011, we made strategic investments in acquisitions and technologies that created a unique set of capabilities to both extend Aetna’s core health business and poise us to capitalize on exciting new consumer and provider opportunities emerging in the marketplace.”

Key Stats:

The company fell short of forecasts after beating estimates in the previous two quarters. In the third quarter, it topped the mark by 26 cents, and in the second quarter, it was ahead by 28 cents.

The increase in profit last quarter comes after net income fell in the previous quarter. In the third quarter, net income declined 1.4% to $490.4 million.

The company’s revenue has now risen for two straight quarters. In the third quarter, revenue increased 2.9% to $8.79 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Looking Forward: Next quarter’s results are expected to be more favorable for the company. Over the past sixty days, the average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year has reached $1.39 per share, up from $1.35. The average estimate for the fiscal year has seen a bump from $5.03 per share sixty days ago to $5.16.

(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com