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EARNINGS ROUNDUP / WELLPOINT

Investment losses push profit down

October 23, 2008|times wire services

A shaky financial market helped push WellPoint Inc.'s third-quarter profit down more than 5%, but company leaders said tough times could create buying opportunities for the insurer.

The operator of Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans said net income dropped to $820.7 million, or $1.60 a share, compared with $868 million, or $1.45, a year earlier.

WellPoint reported a pretax write-down of $562.6 million, or 71 cents a share, from investment losses and declines.

Excluding that and other one-time items, the company's adjusted earnings per share were $1.58. That topped the $1.49 expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue fell 1.8% to $14.96 billion.

WellPoint shares fell 4.9%, or $2.05, to $39.80.

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