Aetna Inc. Third Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Aetna, Inc. (NYSE:AET) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, October 27, 2011. 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.

Aetna, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of $1.14 per share, a rise of 35.7% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved up from $1.04. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved up. It has risen from $1.10 during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting net income of $4.80 per share, a rise of 30.4% from last year.

Past Earnings Performance: Last quarter, the company beat estimates by 28 cents, coming in at profit of $1.35 a share versus the estimate of net income of $1.07 a share. It marked the fourth straight quarter of beating estimates.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a decline of 1.8% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $8.31 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 12 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and six rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the second quarter, profit rose 9.3% to $536.7 million ($1.39 a share) from $491 million ($1.14 a share) the year earlier, exceeding analyst expectations. Revenue fell 2.4% to $8.34 billion from $8.55 billion.

Key Stats:

The company has seen net income rise in three straight quarters. Net income rose 4.2% in the first quarter and 30% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Over the last four quarters, revenue has fallen an average of 1.6% year over year. The biggest drop came in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, when revenue fell 2.5% from the year earlier quarter.

Competitors to Watch: UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT), Coventry Health Care, Inc. (NYSE:CVH), WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP), CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI), WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE:WCG), Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM), Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC), HealthSpring, Inc (NYSE:HS), and Universal American Corp. (NYSE:UAM).

Stock Price Performance: During July 28, 2011 to October 21, 2011, the stock price had fallen $3.70 (-8.8%) from $41.82 to $38.12. It saw one of its worst periods between November 10, 2010 and November 18, 2010 when shares fell for seven-straight days, falling 5.5% (-$1.74) over that span. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between December 30, 2010 and January 12, 2011 when shares rose for 10-straight days, rising 7.8% (+$2.36) over that span. Shares are up $7.96 (+26.4%) year to date.

(Source: Xignite Financials)

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