Other than the potential short term gain in share price for a few day traders there is no reason for Hemsley to come across as upbeat. Every quarter, for as long as I can remember, he says, "things are going great but the future looks bleak"... Why would he say anything else? If he were cheerful and upbeat about the future he, and the company shareholders, would come under immediate political attack.
This conservative stance, though frustrating to the day traders, is the best course for those who intend to hold longer term....
Especially with the shares already doing so well lately, Hemsley was right to be conservative. If the general market wasn't so weak this morning, I don't think it would have corrected this much. Even so, right now UNH is back over 60 and that is good.
I think we will recover, over the next few months, and challenge the 2005 highs.
A drop like this shakes out a lot of folks who were about to sell anyway and UNH will slip in and vacuum up shares if it drops too low. I think that the conference call revealed a company hitting on all cylinders chugging towards well defined objectives. Optum is doing exactly what it was expected to do. The PBM and Tricare projects will flower over the next few quarters. If Amil becomes a a growth and profit machine that will just be gravy.
In a short while the dividend will get it's annual adjustment ....
A day or two of sturm und drang then we go back to the sunny side of the street.