UnitedHealth Group, Inc. Third Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component UnitedHealth Group, Inc. (NYSE:UNH) will unveil its latest earnings on Tuesday, October 18, 2011. UnitedHealth Group designs products, provides services and applies technologies that improve access to health and well-being services.

UnitedHealth Group, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of $1.12 per share, a decline of 1.8% 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 $1.09. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved up. It has risen from $1.11 during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 6.3% versus last year to $4.36.

Past Earnings Performance: Last quarter, the company beat estimates by 21 cents, coming in at net income of $1.16 a share versus the estimate of profit of 95 cents a share. It marked the fourth straight quarter of beating estimates.

Investing Insights: Amazon.com has a Stock Chart Technical Analysts Dream About.

Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a rise of 7.4% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $25.42 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 16 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and four rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the second quarter, profit rose 12.8% to $1.27 billion ($1.16 a share) from $1.12 billion (99 cents a share) the year earlier, exceeding analyst expectations. Revenue rose 8.5% to $25.23 billion from $23.26 billion.

Key Stats:

The company has seen net income rise in three straight quarters. Net income rose 13% in the first quarter and 10.5% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue rose 9.7% in the first quarter from the year earlier, climbed 10.3% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year-ago quarter and 9.1% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

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

Stock Price Performance: During July 19, 2011 to October 12, 2011, the stock price had fallen $4.89 (-9.5%) from $51.27 to $46.38. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between December 27, 2010 and January 7, 2011 when shares rose for 10-straight days, rising 8.2% (+$2.88) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between May 18, 2011 and May 26, 2011 when shares fell for seven-straight days, falling 5.7% (-$2.89) over that span. Shares are up $10.62 (+29.7%) year to date.

(Source: Xignite Financials)

Investing Insights: Amazon.com has a Stock Chart Technical Analysts Dream About.