WellPoint ( WLP) looks stronger than ever. The nation's largest health insurer on Wednesday easily muscled past Wall Street expectations for the second quarter and lifted its guidance for the full year. By gobbling up its stock and keeping its medical costs under control, the company continues to thrive in a tough enrollment environment. During the latest period, WellPoint grew revenue by 27% to $13.9 billion with help from an acquisition. While the company fell short of the $14.1 billion consensus estimate, it managed to beat some other important targets. Notably, the company posted second-quarter profits of $1.17 a share that topped the consensus estimate by 3 cents. Net income surged 34% to $751 million. UBS analyst Justin Lake says that three major factors -- share repurchases, operating cost controls and strong specialty results -- pushed profits ahead of his estimates. WellPoint spent $1.7 billion buying back 23.3 million shares of its stock in the latest quarter. Some believe that the company will now increase its share repurchase budget going forward. In the meantime, Lake has a buy recommendation and a $90 price target on WellPoint's stock. His firm has provided investment banking services to the company in the past. To be sure, WellPoint itself feels optimistic about the future. Notably, the company now expects to earn $1.22 a share in the third quarter and $4.74 a share over the course of the full year. Before that update, Wall Street had been projecting profits of $1.19 and $4.65 for those periods, respectively. "We are very pleased with our strong second-quarter results that reinforce the very high expectations we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year," WellPoint CEO Larry Glasscock stated. "From a financial perspective, earnings-per-share growth was very strong, administrative costs as a percentage of revenue continued to improve and our medical-expense ratio declined compared to the first quarter ... During the second half of 2006, we expect continued membership growth but not at the expense of profitability."