The health insurers are poised to breakout ahead of Cigna earnings this Friday.
Some positive earnings news is putting a floor under stocks but economic news and credit worries could be the ceiling. Durable goods data this morning showed signs of weakness, but new home sales rose a 4.8% to 770,000, a positive pickup after a decline in August. Forecasts were for 775,000 units.
Aetna on Thursday posted a better-than-expected third-quarter profit as membership increased, and the health insurer raised its full-year forecast.
As the push for universal health care in the U.S. heats up on Capitol Hill, market experts say generic drug stocks and pharmaceutical distributors should perform well, while the hit to big pharma may not be as bad as some anticipate.
Aetna Thursday posted a 16% rise in second-quarter earnings as enrollment increased, and the No. 3 U.S. health insurer raised its full-year forecast.
Ronald Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of Aetna, said meeting the needs of its private customers –- not government reimbursements –- boosted first-quarter earnings.
Aetna reported an 8% rise in first-quarter profit on Thursday, helped by an increase in enrollment and improved operating cost controls, and the health insurer raised its 2007 forecast.
WellPoint reported higher first-quarter profit on Wednesday, helped by gains in membership.
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly played down recent speculation that the airline is a leveraged buyout candidate. “I don’t think it makes any sense to leverage $9 billion of additional debt on an airline like Southwest," Kelly said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
Health insurer Aetna said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it will reaffirm its earnings outlook during phone calls with analysts and investors on Friday.
Health insurer UnitedHealth said Tuesday charges to correct accounting for backdated stock option grants reduced profit by $1.55 billion.
Health insurer Aetna said Thursday that fourth-quarter profit rose, helped by higher enrollment.