Humana Inc rose on Monday after the second biggest health insurer in the U.S. unveiled an optimistic forecast for 2009.

Shares of Humana rose 6.3 percent, or $2.40 to $40.33 a share on the New York Stock exchange by 2:25 p.m. Monday.

The Lousville-based group said today it expected earnings in the range of $5.90 to $6.10 per share for the full year 2009. Its forecast is well above the $5.92 per share predicted by analysts, according to Forbes, and significantly bigger than the $3.83 per share it recorded in the full fiscal year 2008.

Humana earned $174.1 million or $1.03 per share in the fourth quarter compared to $243.2 million or $1.43 per share in the same period of 2007. Revenue jumped 18 percent from a year earlier to $7.49 billion.