UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation's largest health insurer, issued a weaker-than-expected 2013 profit outlook amid worries about economic growth and negotiations over federal spending.
Ahead of its annual investor conference Tuesday, UnitedHealth said it expects earnings next year to be $5.25 to $5.50 a share. That's slightly below the average analyst estimate of $5.58 a share.
But the Minnetonka, Minn., company's projection of annual revenue of as much as $124 billion topped analysts' expectations of $119 billion.
UnitedHealth's shares slipped 39 cents to $53.53.
Chief Executive Stephen Hemsley had warned last month about the sluggish economy and potential cuts in government health programs affecting the insurer's business.