) shares fell after Morgan Stanley cut earnings estimates. On Friday, the company posted $1.95 second-quarter operating EPS.
Analyst Christine Arnold says second-quarter EPS missed her estimate by a penny. She notes membership trends remained weak, with total medical enrollment down 1%. She cut $8.10 2002 EPS estimateto $7.95, and $8.92 2003 forecast to $8.85, to reflect lower enrollment growth, as well as lower share buyback projections.
She maintains an underweight rating, as numerous uncertainties surround the company's ability to generate steady earnings growth on par with its peers. She notes most companies in CI's group are achieving rate increases ahead of cost trends. She says earnings visibility for the group remains good well into 2003.