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What to Watch When Express Scripts Holding Company Reports Earnings

Image source: Express Scripts.

After falling more than 20% early in the year when its largest customer began demanding billions of dollars in additional savings, shares of Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX) have halved those losses in recent months.

ESRX data by YCharts.

Yet the pharmacy benefits manager remains locked in a heated dispute with insurance titan Anthem (NYSE: ANTM) -- which accounts for about 14% of Express Scripts' revenue -- and an unfavorable outcome for these negotiations could leave a sizable dent in the PBM's earnings.

Investors will be looking for an update on this situation -- as well as how well the company's financial results align with management's prior forecasts -- when Express Scripts reports its second-quarter financial results on July 25. 

2016 second-quarter actuals and full-year guidance

In Express Scripts' first-quarter earnings release, management forecasted adjusted second-quarter EPS of $1.55 to $1.59, which would be an increase of 8% to 10% from the year-ago period. Investors will likely want to see adjusted EPS growth of at least 9% from the first quarter, which would be at the midpoint of Express Scripts' guidance.

More importantly, investors will be looking for any changes to Express Scripts' 2016 financial outlook. Despite the situation with Anthem, Express Scripts boosted its full-year adjusted EPS forecast to a range of $6.31 to $6.43 in April, up from a revised range of $6.10 to $6.28 issued in February and initial guidance of $6.08 to $6.28 provided back in December. Should the company indicate that adjusted EPS could come in at the high end of its guidance, it could help reassure investors that Express Scripts' business is performing well despite the publicity surrounding its situation with Anthem.

Anthem update

Of course, shareholders will also be on the lookout for any clues as to the status of Anthem's aforementioned lawsuit against Express Scripts.

Anthem, which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in 14 states, is demanding an additional $3 billion in annual savings, which Express Scripts CEO George Paz has called "ludicrous." 

With the lawsuit still in process, it will likely be difficult for Express Scripts' management to comment on the negotiations, but with so much at stake, investors will be eager to hear any updates management is willing to provide during the company's upcoming conference call.

How to access Express Script's results

Express Scripts will announce its second-quarter financial results on Monday, July 25, after the market closes at 4 p.m. EDT. Investors can tune in to its live conference call, where management will discuss the quarter's results at 8:30 a.m. EDT on July 26. Both the release and a link to the conference call will be available on the company's investor relations website.

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Joe Tenebruso has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Express Scripts. The Motley Fool recommends Anthem. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.