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UnitedHealth Group stock to rise in Obamacare rollout: Barron's

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The stock of U.S. insurer UnitedHealth Group could rise 40 percent over the next two years as Obamacare is fully rolled out, business weekly Barron's said in its July 8 edition.

The company looks better positioned for the revamping of the U.S. healthcare system than competitors Aetna and Cigna because of its combination of high-growth businesses and increasing profit margins, Barron's said. By 2015, its Optum line of health-plan businesses will make up 29 percent of the company's operating earnings, up from 16 percent last year, according to Chris Rigg, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group.

"Its Optum business will help drive down costs for its health plans, giving it a competitive edge," Barron's wrote.

UnitedHealth Group is set to report second-quarter earnings on July 18.

The price of UnitedHealth Group's stock is up 22 percent for the year to date. The stock hit a 52-week intraday high of $66.36 on July 1, according to Thomson Reuters data. On Friday, the stock closed at $66.17.

(Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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