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Cigna Soars Past Targets

It guides higher too.

Cigna (CI) - Get Cigna Corporation Report soared 7% early Wednesday after the health insurer blew away third-quarter targets.

The Philadelphia-based company made $298 million, or $2.75 a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from the year-ago $259 million, or $2 a share. On an adjusted basis, excluding certain items, latest-quarter earnings were $2.48 a share, well above the $2.17 Thomson Financial forecast.

"We are very pleased with our consolidated results for the quarter," said CEO H. Edward Hanway. "Consolidated earnings exceeded our expectations, and membership grew as expected in the quarter. We continue to invest in and capitalize on our capabilities as a consumer focused health advocate to maintain our leadership position in the consumer driven benefits marketplace."

The company guided to earnings of around $9 a share for the year, above the $8.77 Wall Street estimate.

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The company repurchased 8.4 million shares for $931 million during the third quarter and 22.6 million shares for $2.4 billion through October. The company has $820 million of stock repurchase authority available.

Shares rose $7.97 to $124.95.