|By Tony Cook, The Indianapolis Star|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Earnings jumped 38 percent to
"We are very pleased with second half 2012 performance," said Interim CEO
Earnings excluding a tax settlement and investment gains were
Despite the strong fourth-quarter performance, the company lowered its 2013 profit guidance to
"While fourth quarter results were better than we expected and gives us reason for optimism about business performance in 2013, we believe our guidance reflects an appropriate level of conservatism for uncertainties such as the flu, sequestration, medical utilization and the continued implementation of healthcare reform," WellPoint spokeswoman
That frustrated some analysts, who noted that WellPoint, the nation's second-largest health insurer, had indicated 2013 earnings would be flat as recently as
"As has often been the case over the last year, though, what WellPoint says often seems to bear little resemblance to what actually happens," said
Shares of WellPoint were trading at
The company is continuing its search for a new CEO, Cannon said, but he declined to provide any additional details. A decision is expected sometime this quarter, he said.
"It's rational to offer a conservative outlook," he said. "You wouldn't want to back the new CEO, whoever she or he may be, into the corner with a high bar."
Analysts have speculated that WellPoint is likely considering
Cannon, who was the company's general counsel before stepping in for Braly, has said he's not interested in the permanent CEO job.
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