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Cigna Drops After Saying First-Quarter Earnings May Decline

Cigna Corp. (CI) fell the most in two years after the health insurer said first-quarter earnings probably will decline and provided a full-year forecast lower than analysts expected.

Cigna sank 8.7 percent to $77.96 at 10:14 a.m. New York time. The shares of the Bloomfield, Connecticut-based company dropped as much as 9 percent in the biggest intraday decline since February, 2012.

Earnings for 2014 are forecast to be $6.80 to $7.20 a share, the company said in a statement today. The range was less than the $7.31 average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Fourth-quarter profit declined to $1.39 a share, less than analysts estimated, as costs for medical services increased.

Medical costs were “higher than expected” for Medicare Advantage coverage, Chief Executive Officer David Cordani said on a conference call today. Medicare Advantage is insurers’ private version of the U.S. government program for the elderly.

First-quarter earnings are expected to fall from a year earlier, Cordani said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Edney in Washington at aedney@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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