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Primerica Upped to Buy

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On Nov 28, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Primerica, Inc. (PRI - Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Primerica has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of solid third-quarter 2013 results. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 10%.

Primerica reported third-quarter results on Nov 6. Non-GAAP earnings per share came in at 78 cents, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 76 cents by 2.6%. It improved 8.3% year over year.

Earnings were primarily aided by a solid top-line growth of 8.0% driven by strong Investment and Savings Products performance and growth in Term Life net premium.

Life-licensed sales force increased to 94,529 at Sep 30, 2013 from 91,506 at Sep 30, 2012. Term life insurance policies issued in the third quarter increased 1% year over year.

Cash and cash equivalents at third quarter end improved 31.4% over 2012. Return on equity was 15.8% for the quarter. The company’s quarterly dividend of 11 cents currently yields 1.02%.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 0.7% to $2.91 per share as most of the estimates were revised higher over the last 30 days. For 2014, two of 4 estimates were revised higher over the same time frame, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.6% to $3.28 per share of Primerica.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other insurers, which look attractive at current levels, include StanCorp Financial Group Inc. and Old Republic International Corp. (ORI - Free Report) with Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). American Equity Investment Life Holding Co. (AEL - Free Report) in the same sector comes with a Zacks Rank #2.

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