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UNITEDHEALTH GROUP

(UNH)
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UNITEDHEALTH GROUP : UnitedHealth profit slips, but results beat Street

04/21/2009 | 07:06am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - UnitedHealth Group Inc posted slightly lower first-quarter profit on Tuesday as membership in commercial plans for employers fell, but the results topped analysts' expectations, and the insurer backed its 2009 profit forecast.

The central bank made this forecast in its February Inflation Report, and Sentance said this outlook was likely to be retained in the next edition of the report in May.

"Though there are still a lot of risks, the economic data since February has been broadly consistent with this projection," he said in a speech to engineers in London.

"Some of the business survey data is now more positive -- albeit recovering from a low base. There are tentative signs of a pickup in housing market activity. And UK exports do not seem to falling as sharply as other countries'," he added.

Inflation, however, had fallen less fast than the Bank had expected because sterling's weakness had pushed up the price of imports, Sentance said.

March price data released earlier on Tuesday showed that consumer price inflation fell to 2.9 percent from 3.2 percent, still well above the Bank's 2 percent target.

"The downward momentum of inflation in the short-term may not be as strong as we thought in February -- probably because of the very marked depreciation in sterling since the summer of 2007," Sentance said.

Economic recovery would not necessarily be smooth, and the stability in the years running up to the credit crunch might prove to have been a one-off, Sentance said.

Sentance added that he expected action already taken by the central bank to support recovery.

"As we move through this year, the economy should feel more support from the significant cuts in interest rates made by the MPC last autumn and earlier this year, as well as the current programme of 'quantitative easing'," he said.

The Bank has spent around half of the 75 billion pounds ($108.8 billion) of money it said it would create in March to buy British government bonds and other financial assets to boost money supply and help Britain's recession-hit economy.

It is on track to have spent the rest by June.

(Reporting by David Milliken and Matt Falloon; Editing by Victoria Main)

($1=.6896 Pound)


ę Reuters 2009
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BASE CO., LTD. 2.56% 4800 End-of-day quote.-21.95%
BASE, INC. -3.07% 1293 End-of-day quote.-33.76%
UNITEDHEALTH GROUP 0.71% 412.08 Delayed Quote.18.37%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2021 283 B - -
Net income 2021 16 947 M - -
Net Debt 2021 16 851 M - -
P/E ratio 2021 23,2x
Yield 2021 1,25%
Capitalization 389 B 389 B -
EV / Sales 2021 1,43x
EV / Sales 2022 1,34x
Nbr of Employees 330 000
Free-Float 99,4%
Chart UNITEDHEALTH GROUP
Duration : Period :
UnitedHealth Group Technical Analysis Chart | UNH | US91324P1021 | MarketScreener
Technical analysis trends UNITEDHEALTH GROUP
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
TrendsBullishBullishBullish
Income Statement Evolution
Consensus
Sell
Buy
Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 28
Last Close Price 412,08 $
Average target price 456,33 $
Spread / Average Target 10,7%
EPS Revisions
Managers and Directors
Andrew Philip Witty Chief Executive Officer & Director
Dirk C. McMahon President & Chief Operating Officer
John Franklin Rex Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
Stephen J. Hemsley Chairman
Richard J. Migliori Chief Medical Officer & EVP-Medical Affairs
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CENTENE CORPORATION16.16%40 656
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