Health insurer Humana ( HUM ) reported higher first-quarter profit but offered mixed earnings guidance.

The Louisville, Ky.-based company had net income of $67.8 million, or 41 cents a share, vs. $31.2 million, or 19 cents, in the year-ago period, meeting the consensus estimate according to Thomson First Call.

Total revenue jumped 12% to $3.28 billion.

Writedowns and other charges totaled $18.8 million, or 12 cents a share, during the 2003 earnings period.

Humana said its pretax margin rose to 3.1% from 1.6% a year ago.

Looking ahead, Humana forecast second-quarter earnings of 37 cents to 39 cents a share, compared with a consensus forecast of 41 cents a share.

Full-year EPS is seen at $1.60 to $1.65, with revenue of about $13 billion. Consensus forecasts are for $1.62 and $13.18 billion.

"We continue to expect 2004 revenue, earnings and cash flows to be the highest in Humana's history as a health benefits company," the company said.

Shares closed at $19.01 Friday.

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