United Health Earnings Cheat Sheet: Shares Fly Higher 8% on Healthcare Optimism

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) reported net income above Wall Street’s expectations for the first quarter. UnitedHealth Group, Inc. designs products, provides services and applies technologies that improve access to health and well-being services.

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UnitedHealth Group Earnings Cheat Sheet for the First Quarter

Results: Net income for UnitedHealth Group Inc. rose to $1.35 billion ($1.22/share) vs. $1.19 billion ($1.03/share) YoY. A rise of 13% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 9.7% to $25.43 billion YoY.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: UNH (NYSE:UNH) beat the mean analyst estimate of 89 cents/share. Estimates ranged from 80 cents per share to $1.10 per share.

Quoting Management: Stephen J. Hemsley, president and chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group, said, “Demand is increasing for greater connectivity, transparency and sustainable cost structures across the health system, as consumers, payers and care providers call for quality care at affordable prices. UnitedHealth Group is well-positioned for sustained growth as we address these expanding market needs with consistent performance, solid fundamental execution and practical innovation that helps customers achieve their goals.”

Key Stats: The company has now seen net income rise in three-straight quarters. In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, net income rose 10.5% and in the third quarter of the last fiscal year, the figure rose 23.4%.

Competitors to Watch: Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET), Health Net (NYSE:HNT), Coventry Health (NYSE:CVH), Humana (NYSE:HUM), CIGNA (NYSE:CI), WellCare (NYSE:WCG), Universal American (UAM, Centene (CNC), HealthSpring (NYSE:HS) and WellPoint Inc. (NYSE:WLP).

Today’s Performance: Shares of UNH (NYSE:UNH) are trading at $47.80 as of April 21, 2011 at 8:45 AM ET, up 8% from the previous close.

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