Principal Financial Rises on 2011 Profit Forecast

Principal Financial Group Inc., the seller of life insurance and retirement products, advanced in New York trading after saying profit may rise next year.

Principal climbed $1, or 3.6 percent, to $29.16 at 10:13 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The firm has jumped 21 percent this year, beating the 16 percent gain of the 24-company KBW Insurance Index.

Operating profit per share next year will probably be $2.80 to $3, the Des Moines, Iowa-based firm said in a statement late yesterday. That compares with the $2.63 average estimate for 2010 profit of 18 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“We feel very good about where we’re at in the fourth quarter,” a company executive said in a conference call today. “We feel very good about where we are going into 2011.”

The insurer’s outlook was boosted to positive from stable by Standard and Poor’s yesterday.

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