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Symetra Plunges as Proft Misses Analysts’ Estimates

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Symetra Financial Corp., the insurer that counts Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. among its largest shareholders, declined the most since 2011 after fourth-quarter profit missed analysts’ estimates.

Symetra dropped 9.1 percent to $12.43 at 12:41 p.m. in New York. The Bellevue, Washington-based company had advanced about 37 percent in the 12 months through yesterday.

Net income fell to $31 million, or 22 cents a share, from $73.7 million, or 54 cents, a year earlier, as claims costs climbed at the benefits and individual-life segments, the company said in statement yesterday. Operating profit, which excludes some investment results, was 24 cents a share, compared with the 34-cent average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“Fourth-quarter operating earnings are well below our expectations,” Sandler O’Neil & Partners LP analysts led by Edward Shields said in a note. Shields has a hold rating on the company.

Berkshire and White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd. are the two top Symetra shareholders, and each company has a stake of about 15 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Bunn in New York at ebunn1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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