|By The Associated Press|
Major health insurers should detail results that stack up well to expectations when they begin reporting on the fourth quarter, but investors will be focused more on how the new year is shaping up, according to analysts who cover the sector.
Big insurers should at least meet, if not beat, expectations in the quarter, Bernstein analyst
Investors and analysts also have worried about a flu season that is shaping up to be more intense than during recent seasons. That can hurt insurers if they receive more claims for care than they expected.
Raskin said fourth-quarter results are relatively unimportant to investors, and he expects a greater focus on expectations for the new year.
The sector had a choppy 2012 with shares from only one of the five largest health insurers exceeding the Standard & Poor's 500 index advance of more than 13 percent.
In morning trading Wednesday, all the stocks were down roughly 1 percent, in line with the broader market.
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