Why Aetna (AET) Stock Is Higher Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Aetna Inc. (AET) are up 5.94% to $73.00 in pre-market trading after the health insurer reported 2014 first quarter results this morning.

Net income was up 36%, helped by higher membership and revenue, after acquiring Coventry Health Care in 2013.

The company raised its full-year operating earnings forecast to $6.35 to $6.55 a share from a prior view of at least $6.25 a share.

Aetna's first quarter profit was $665.5 million, or $1.82 a share, up from $490.1 million, or $1.48 a share, a year ago.

Excluding miscellaneous items, its per share operating earnings climbed to $1.98 from $1.56.

Operating revenue, which excludes net realized capital gains and losses, was up 47% to $13.97 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast operating earnings of $1.55 a share on revenue of $13.72 billion.

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TheStreet Ratings team rates AETNA INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate AETNA INC (AET) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

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