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Express Scripts Shares Take a Beating

It said profits might not be as high as projected next year


Investors hammered Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESXR) shares after the pharmacy benefits manager warned that Wall Street earnings forecasts for next year were too high.

In a statement, Express Scripts said that analysts’ estimates for its 2013 profits were “overly aggressive,” noting that continued soft economic growth and relatively high unemployment could depress drug purchases in the coming year. Still, the company predicted unspecified earnings growth. Wall Street had expected earnings of $4.50 a share for 2013, Bloomberg noted.

Health Insurer Plans to Return $50 Million to Customers
Health Insurer Plans to Return $50 Million to Customers

Shares of Express Scripts plummetted more than 11% in Tuesday morning trading.

The company announced on Monday that it earned $391.4 million during the third quarter. Adjusted EPS came in at $1.02, which narrowly beat the $1 per share that  analysts had expected.

Quarterly revenue hit $27 billion, double last year. But that still missed the $27.5 billion analysts had forecast.

Earlier this year Express Scripts negotiated a new agreement with Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) that restored its services to the pharmacy chain. Walgreen had seen customers defect to rivals CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) and Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) after it did not renew its contract with Express Scripts last year.

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