Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Business Digest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Business Digest

Article excerpt

Dow cracks 23,000 for first time * Gains by health care companies led U.S. stock indexes mostly higher Tuesday, pushing the market further into record territory.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 22,997.44, a record, after briefly climbing above the 23,000 mark for the first time. Slight gains also nudged the Standard & Poor's 500 to a record close of 2,559.36. The Nasdaq, however, slipped slightly to 6,623.66.

News of a plan backed by the White House that would extend federal payments to insurers helped boost the health care sector.

UnitedHealth profits top forecast * UnitedHealth Group Inc. on Tuesday reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast, helped by strength in its pharmacy benefit management business.

The largest U.S. health insurer said net earnings attributable to shareholders rose 26.3 percent to $2.49 billion, or $2.51 per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

Excluding items, the company earned $2.66 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of $2.56 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue from its Optum business, which manages drug benefits and offers health care data analytics services, rose 8.4 percent to $22.89 billion.

UnitedHealth's total revenue rose 8.7 percent to $50.32 billion, but narrowly missed analysts' estimate of $50.35 billion.

Goldman trading revenue drops * Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on Tuesday reported a decline in quarterly profit, as gains in investment banking were offset by a 26 percent drop in fixed-income trading revenue. Revenue from trading bonds, currencies and commodities fell to $1.45 billion, the Wall Street bank said.

Net income applicable to common shareholders was $2.04 billion, or $5.02 per share, for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $2.10 billion, or $4.88, a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $4. …

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