PacifiCare Plunges After Earnings Miss Estimates

PacifiCare Health Systems ( PHSY) posted fourth-quarter pro forma net income of $11.8 million, or 34 cents a share, down from $17.7 million, or 52 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts had been expecting 36 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Including a restructuring charge, the company lost $26.4 million, or 77 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter was down 3% from the year ago period to $2.9 billion, due primarily to a 17% drop in commercial membership and a 10% decline in Medicare+Choice membership.

For 2002, the company reiterated its previous guidance of earnings per share of $3.55 to $3.65.

Shares of PacifiCare were recently down 9.9% to $16.30 in Instinet premarket trading after closing at $18.09 Wednesday. The stock had already fallen by more than 15% since last Friday's close on news that the Texas attorney general has filed a lawsuit charging the managed care company with failing to pay millions of dollars in claims.

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