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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

)

-- UnitedHealth Group

(NYSE:

UNH

) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of A. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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    Highlights from the ratings report include:

      • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
      • UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC has improved earnings per share by 7.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.72 versus $4.10 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.97 versus $4.72).
      • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 12.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
      • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 192.97% to $3,586.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 114.72%.
      • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.45, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that UNH's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.69, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.

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      UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates as a diversified health and well-being company in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.1, equal to the average health services industry P/E ratioand below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. UnitedHealth Group has a market cap of $60.52 billion and is part of the

      health care

      sector and

      health services

      industry. Shares are up 15.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

      You can view the full

      UnitedHealth Group Ratings Report

      or get investment ideas from our

      investment research center

      .

      --Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

      TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

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