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Health Net (HNT) said Monday its board authorized the resumption of repurchases of its common stock under an existing stock repurchase program.

The board also increased the size of the stock repurchase program by $235 million. As a result, the company is authorized to acquire shares of its common stock up to $450 million. It had halted share repurchases under the stock repurchase program on Sept. 13, 2004.

"The board's action underscores our growing confidence about our future and our continuing strong financial performance," the Los Angeles based company said.

The company said the earliest it could resume repurchasing shares is Nov. 8.

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The company also said it expects third-quarter earnings of about $91 million, or 76 cents a share. The forecast includes the effect of pretax charge for the refinancing of the company's senior notes and a tax benefit from a loss on the sale of a subsidiary. Excluding these items, earnings are expected to be 84 cents a share.

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