(Reuters) - Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N), the largest U.S. health insurer, rose as much as 3.95 percent to a record high of $158.12 on Tuesday after the company issued a better-than-expected earnings forecast for the coming year.
UnitedHealth, which is in the process of exiting the government's subsidized market for health insurance, known as Obamacare, said on Monday it expected to earn between $9.30 and $9.60 per share in 2017, excluding items.
Analysts on average expect earnings of $9.16 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company, which sells employer-based insurance as well as Medicare and Medicaid plans, forecast revenue of $197 billion-$199 billion. Wall Street is expecting $196.78 billion.
UnitedHealth reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings in October and raised its 2016 profit forecast.
Up to Monday's close, UnitedHealth's shares had risen 29.3 percent this year.
Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr