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CVS Health (CVS) Q3 Earnings Top Estimates, 2021 EPS View Up

Strength in all three operating segments drove CVS Health's (CVS) revenues in the third quarter of 2021.

This story originally appeared on Zacks

CVS Health Corporation's CVS third-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.97 rose 18.7% year over year and exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 10.1%. The adjusted EPS figure takes into account certain asset amortization costs and acquisition-related integration costs along with other adjustments.

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On a reported basis, the company’s earnings of $1.20 per share rose 29% year over year.

Total revenues in the third quarter rose 10% year over year to $73.79 billion. The top line also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.1%.

Quarter in Detail

Pharmacy Services revenues were up 9.3% to $39.05 billion in the reported quarter. Increased pharmacy claims volume, growth in specialty pharmacy and brand inflation were partially offset by continued price compression in the quarter.

Total pharmacy claims processed rose 6.9% on a 30-day equivalent basis, attributable to strong net new business, COVID-19 vaccinations and increased new therapy prescriptions. Without considering the COVID-19 vaccinations, total pharmacy claims processed increased 5.3% on a 30-day equivalent basis.

CVS Health Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


Revenues from CVS Health’s Retail/LTC segment were up 10% year over year to $24.99 billion. In the quarter, the benefit from the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations and diagnostic testing, increased prescription and front store volume were partially offset by continued pharmacy reimbursement pressure and the impact of recent generic introductions.

Within Health Care Benefits segment, the company registered revenues worth $20.48 billion in the third quarter, up 9.5% year over year. The improvement was primarily driven by growth in the Government Services business, partially offset by the unfavorable impact of the repeal of the HIF (Health Insurer Fee) for 2021.


Total cost (including Benefit Cost) rose 10.4% to $61.09 billion in the third quarter. Gross profit rose 8.4% to $12.70 billion. Gross margin contracted 27 basis points (bps) to 17.2%. Operating margin in the quarter under review contracted 11 bps to 4.7% despite a 7.5% rise in operating profit to $3.49 billion.

2021 Guidance

CVS Health raised its 2021 adjusted EPS guidance. Adjusted EPS is expected in the band of $7.90-$8.00 (compared with the earlier range of $7.70-$7.80). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 earnings is pegged at $7.78.

Full-year operating cash flow projection has been raised to the range of $13.00-$13.50 billion ($12.50-$13.00 billion).

Our Take

CVS Health’s third-quarter earnings and revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Revenues across all the three operating segments improved in the quarter. Increased guidance amid the pandemic is another positive. However, the contraction of both margins is discouraging. The rise in the company’s operating cost is building pressure on the bottom line.

The company has a five-year annualized dividend growth rate of 0.93%.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

CVS Health currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space that have announced quarterly results are Medpace Holdings, Inc. MEDP, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. TMO and West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. WST.

Medpace, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $1.29, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 20.6%. Revenues of $295.57 million beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.2%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Thermo Fisher Scientific reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $5.76, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 23.3%. Revenues of $9.33 billion outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 12%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #1.

West Pharmaceutical Services, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $2.06, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.2%. Revenues of $706.5 million outpaced the consensus mark by 3.2%.

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