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THE RESULTS: Health insurer WellPoint Inc. earned $548.8 million, or $1.40 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2010 on $14.42 billion in operating revenue. Earnings fell below the company's performance in the same quarter of 2009, when it had a big gain from a subsidiary sale.

THE UPSIDE: Adjusted results, which exclude one-time items such as the year-ago gain, surpassed analyst expectations. WellPoint benefited in part from a continued drop in health care use.

2011 FORECAST: The Indianapolis insurer expects 2011 earnings of at least $6.30 per share, which falls below analyst expectations of about $6.58 per share and its 2010 performance.

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