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Lehman Keeps PacifiCare at Overweight

Lehman Brothers maintains its overweight rating on PacifiCare Health Systems (PHS)

Analyst Joshua Raskin says third-quarter earnings per share handily beat his 87 cents estimate and 88 cents consensus. He notes that despite a charge, the company's earnings per share were much better than expected and outlook further improved. He saw signs of Medicare membership growth acceleration as well.

Raskin says the quality of results were exemplified by strong cash-flow generation. He notes that the election served as a source of uncertainty that impacted PacifiCare specifically due to its high level of Medicare dependency. He says the Bush re-election will likely serve as a positive from a sentiment perspective. He has a $47 12-month target for the health insurer.

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