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Aetna doubles dividend, announces share buyback

Aetna doubled its dividend and announced additional share repurchases Friday.

The announcement followed news earlier in the week the health insurance company will terminate its merger with Humana.

Earlier, shares had fallen 3.5 percent ahead of the dividend announcement before trade was halted. The stock resumed trade rising off of session lows, ending the day about 3.3 percent lower.

The insurer doubled its quarterly cash dividend from the previous quarter to 50 cents per share of common stock, according to a release. Aetna also authorized up to an additional $4 billion in repurchases of its common stock, adding to the roughly $1.1 billion remaining under the company's existing share repurchase programs.

With Friday's decline, shares were up about 1 percent for 2017.

Aetna 5-day intraday price chart

Source: FactSet

Aetna and rival Humana earlier this week that they are terminating their merger, after their $34 billion deal was blocked by a federal court on antitrust grounds. Aetna will pay Humana a $1 billion break-up fee, in accordance with the agreement.

Humana has decided to exit the Obamacare exchange market in 2018, setting off alarm bells for health insurers and regulators like Aetna, even as the Trump administration issues new rules to try to stabilize the exchanges.

—CNBC's Bertha Coombs contributed to this report.

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