Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc.
rose 1.3% in premarket trading Thursday, after the health care provider reported second-quarter profit and revenue that were well above expectations and raised its full-year outlook, even as the company continued to expect COVID-19 to take a bite out of results. Net income fell to $4.27 billion, or $4.46 a share, from $6.64 billion, or $6.91 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share declined to $4.70 from $7.12, but beat the FactSet consensus of $4.43. Total revenue grew 14.8% to $71.32 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $69.51 billion, as premiums revenue increased 13.8% to $56.23 billion to top expectations of $55.07 billion. Optum revenue rose 17.1% to $38.3 billion. The company raised its 2021 adjusted EPS guidance range to $18.30 to $18.80 from $18.10 to $18.60, with that outlook still including about $1.80 per share in estimated negative COVID-19 effects, which include testing and treatment costs. The stock has rallied 18.3% year to date through Wednesday, while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF
has gained 13.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
has advanced 14.1%.