Back to top

Analyst Blog

On Feb 14, the shares of CNO Financial Group Inc. (CNO - Analyst Report) touched a new 52-week high of $18.52 per share. A better–than–expected fourth-quarter 2013 results fuelled the momentum. With fourth quarter operating earnings of 33 cents per share, the company marked the third consecutive quarter of earnings beat. Results also outpaced 25 cents earned in the year-ago quarter.
The company exited the year on a strong note earning $1.17 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.13 and year–ago earnings of 69 cents.
The earnings surprises on both the quarterly and yearly fronts were led by higher sales and premium, distribution expansion and financial strength. Higher revenues along with a decline in expenses boosted margins during the quarter.
Apart from continued strong earnings results, the future of the company looks promising. Significant earnings improvement and an extensive capital deployment plan positions the company to achieve its long-term return on equity goal of 9% by 2015. The company expects to spend $225–$300 million on the repurchase of securities in 2014.
In addition,  two insurance subsidiaries of the company entered into 100% coinsurance agreements that should help CNO Financial address its run-off business and bolster earnings in the future.
Moreover, strong cash flow and effective capital management should help retain investor confidence in the stock.
CNO Financial carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Old Republic International Corp. (ORI - Snapshot Report), The Travelers Companies Inc. (TRV - Analyst Report) and ACE Ltd (ACE - Analyst Report) are also worth considering. While TRV and ACE carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), ORI sports the same rank as CNO Financial.

Please login to or register to post a comment.

New to Zacks?

Start Here

Zacks Investment Research


Are you a new Zacks Member or a visitor to

Top Zacks Features

My Portfolio Tracker

Is it Time to Sell?

One of the most important steps you can take today is to set up your portfolio tracker on Once you do, you'll be notified of major events affecting your stocks and/or funds with daily email alerts.

More Zacks Resources

Zacks Rank Home - Evaluate your stocks and use the Zacks Rank to eliminate the losers and keep the winners.

Mutual Fund Rank Home - Evaluate your funds with the Mutual Fund Rank for both your personal and retirement funds.

Stock/Mutual Fund Screening - Find better stocks and mutual funds. The ones most likely to beat the market and provide a positive return.

My Portfolio - Track your Portfolio and find out where your stocks/mutual funds stack up with the Zacks Rank.

Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers for Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers

Company Symbol Price %Chg
CENTURY ALU… CENX 22.53 +4.50%
ERBA DIAGNO… ERB 2.91 +4.30%
PLANAR SYST… PLNR 4.31 +3.86%
MALLINCKROD… MNK 72.17 +3.83%
GTT COMMUNI… GTT 12.06 +3.52%