CNO Financial Group Inc., the insurer that counts John Paulson’s hedge fund as its largest shareholder, advanced the most in five months after fourth- quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates.
CNO rose 5.1 percent to $10.81 at 12:20 p.m. in New York, the second-best performer of the 259-company Dow Jones U.S. Financials Index. It was the Carmel, Indiana-based firm’s biggest intraday gain since September and highest price since June 2008.
Fourth-quarter net income increased 60 percent to $101.2 million, or 41 cents a share, from $64.4 million, or 23 cents, a year earlier, the company said yesterday in a statement. Operating profit, which excludes some investment results, was 25 cents a share, beating the 23-cent average estimate of seven analysts in a Bloomberg survey and the 22-cent estimate of Sean Dargan, a Macquarie Group Ltd. analyst.
“CNO shares will react favorably to the 4Q12 earnings report,” Dargan wrote in a Feb. 11 research note. He has a neutral rating on the shares.
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