PacifiCare Health Systems, Cypress, Calif., lowered its earnings guidance for the remainder of the year, citing the cost of paying off debt and the effect of issuing new stock. The health insurer said it now expects fourth-quarter, per-share earnings of 59 cents to 64 cents, down from an earlier forecast of $1.02 to $1.07. Full-year, per-share earnings are now projected at $6 to $6.05, down from PacifiCare's recently raised forecast of $6.52 to $6.57. The lower estimates reflect costs associated with the redemption of $175 million in principal senior notes and the dilutive effect of PacifiCare's offering of 3.8 million new shares on Monday. Meanwhile, Cigna Corp., Philadelphia, is expected to announce the sale of its retirement services unit to Prudential Financial, Newark, N.J., for about $2 billion, analysts said. The unit recorded $58 million in third-quarter profits and had $56 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30. Cigna said in July that it planned to divest its retirement business so it could focus on improving its healthcare unit. -- by Laura B. Benko
PacifiCare cuts profit forecast; sale of Cigna unit expected
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