Humana took its turn in the earnings confessional this morning to report a 90% rise in third-quarter income. The company banked earnings of $302.4 million, or $1.78 per share, compared to its year-ago results of $159.2 million, or 95 cents per share. Analysts were expecting a per-share profit of $1.49. Sales for the period totaled $6.3 billion, a gain of nearly 12% on a year-over-year basis.

The third-quarter results include a 5 cents-per-share gain related to improvements in its commercial operations and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, as well as non-recurring earnings of 25 cents per share. Fourth-quarter results are expected to total $1.27 to $1.32 per share, with fiscal-year earnings adding up to $4.75 to $4.80 per share.

HUM lost 1.8% in Friday's session, though the equity pared its intraday losses after bouncing off support from its 20-day moving average. The shares have trended higher since mid-2000, climbing along support from their 10-month and 20-month moving averages. Despite the stock's dependable technical performance, option traders had low expectations heading into this report the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio of 1.06 ranks higher than 91% of other such readings taken during the past year.