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Aetna (NYSE:AET) is expected to report Q3 earnings before the market open on Thursday, October 27 with a conference call scheduled for 8:30 am ET.

Guidance

Analysts are looking for EPS of $1.15 on revenue of $8.31B. The consensus range is $1.04-$1.25 for EPS, and $8.12B-$8.45B for revenue, according to First Call. On September 13, the company updated its EPS guidance, projecting FY11 EPS of better than $4.60-$4.70. At that time, the company said it expects to take a Q3 charge relating to pending voluntary early retirement. Positives this quarter may be seen coming from disciplined pricing, cost management, and lower utilization. Negatives for Aetna may be seen coming from persistently high U.S. unemployment and an uptick in utilization growth in the last couple of months.

Analyst Views

In late August, Jefferies upgraded Aetna to Buy from Hold based on valuation and strong fundamentals.The firm raises its price target on the shares to $51 from $47. On October 14, Morgan Stanley named Aetna a long research tactical idea.

Source: Earnings Preview: Aetna