UnitedHealth Group Q4 Earnings Jump 20%, Easily Beating View; Conservative Forecast Unchanged (UNH)

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Health insurance provider UnitedHealth Group Inc. ( UNH ) on Thursday posted better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings, but left its 2012 forecast unchanged.

The Minnetonka, MN-based company reported fourth quarter net income of $1.26 billion, or $1.17 per share, compared with $1.04 billion, or 94 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 8% from last year to $25.92 billion.

On average, Wall Street analysts expected a much smaller profit of $1.03 per share, on lower revenue of $25.64 billion.

Looking ahead, UNH backed its previously-announced 2012 forecast for earnings of $4.55 to $4.75 per share, on revenue of $107 billion to $108 billion. Wall Street analysts are looking for higher full-year earnings of $4.77 per share.

UnitedHealth Group shares rose 48 cents, or +0.9%, in premarket trading Thursday.

The Bottom Line
Shares of UnitedHealth Group ( UNH ) have a 1.21% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $53.94. The stock has technical support in the $48-$50 price area. If the shares can continue their recent momentum, we see overhead resistance around the $58 price level.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. ( UNH ) is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks , as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here .



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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