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On Mar 14, Zacks Investment Research upgraded AllianceBernstein Holding, L.P. (AB - Snapshot Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). AllianceBernstein witnessed sharp upward estimate revisions after reporting solid fourth-quarter 2013 results on Feb 12, 2014.

Why the Upgrade?

AllianceBernstein fourth-quarter 2013 results clocked a positive earnings surprise of 39.5%. With this, the company delivered positive earnings surprises in all of the last four consecutive quarters with an average beat of 15.3%. Since the earnings release, shares of this financial investment manager has spiked 11% to close at $24.30 on Mar 13.

AllianceBernstein reported fourth-quarter net operating earnings per share of 60 cents, escalating 50% year over year. The number also breezed past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 43 cents.

Bottom-line growth was largely attributable to higher revenues and lower expenses. Total revenue at AllianceBernstein also scaled heights during the fourth quarter. Top-line growth was driven by higher base and performance fees as well as improved Bernstein research services.

AllianceBernstein is witnessing operating synergies owing to better investment performance, expanded global business mix and innovative and strong growth initiatives. The company has a sturdy financial position which helps to fund the large scale growth measures.

It is also worth noting that AllianceBernstein has been witnessing solid activity on the earnings estimate front. For current year earnings, the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased by 5.3% to $1.78 in the past 30 days, thanks to 4 upward revisions in the past one month compared to nil downward revisions. This estimate strength plays a key role in propelling AllianceBernstein to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), suggesting that it is poised to outperform in the near term.

Other Insurers Worth a Look

Investors interested in the financial investment management industry may also consider some other top-ranked stocks like Calamos Asset management Inc. (CLMS - Snapshot Report), Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG - Snapshot Report) and Lazard Ltd. (LAZ - Analyst Report). All these stocks sport the same Zacks Rank as AllianceBernstein.

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