The Thomson Reuters-derived projection called for Coventry Health to earn 81 cents a share.
The company also affirmed forecasts calling for second-quarter earnings of $1.03 to $1.04 a share and a full-year profit of $4.39 to $4.50 a share. Analysts' average profit projections stand at $1.10 a share for the quarter and $4.43 a share for 2008.
Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Borsch called the results "solid" and said they "should support a rebound in the managed-care stocks."
Borsch said in a note Friday morning to clients.some investors might take issue with [second-quarter earnings-per-share] outlook below the Street,". The managed-care sector should enjoy rally and provide a favorable view through late June.
Coventry Health's shares added nearly 5% to close at $45.10. The stock is down 22% from a year ago.