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The chief executive of Humana told CNBC that the company's recent quarterly performance was the best he has seen during his tenure and expects the company to capitalize on further growth opportunities."In my seven years as CEO this is probably the best quarter we've had," president and CEO Michael McCallister said in an interview.
Stocks closed higher, helped by buying in the financials sector, as bargain hunters shrugged off lingering concerns about corporate financing. "The question many investors should ask is whether deals are merely being re-priced, which seems appropriate, or will be cancelled," said Jason Trennert of Strategas Research.
Futures are perking up this morning and are setting stocks up for a firmer opening. Traders are turning their attention to earnings and some percolating merger news, and there's a calm on Wall Street after Friday's late day, mad dash down-hill ride for stocks.
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Humana, one of the largest providers of health plans under the U.S. government's Medicare program for the elderly, also raised its profit outlook for the year.
Humana said fourth-quarter profit more than doubled on higher revenue due to Medicare Advantage membership growth, and the health insurer raised its outlook for 2007.