Lincoln National Surges as Profit Beats Estimates (Update1)

By Joel Schectman
Bloomberg News
February 9, 2010

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Lincoln National Corp., the insurer that took a $950 million U.S. bailout, rose the most since October after earnings beat analysts’ estimates.

The insurer climbed $1.35, or 5.7 percent, to $24.85 at 10:18 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Lincoln earned $102.3 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $505.5 million in the year-earlier period, the Philadelphia-based company said in a statement late yesterday. Operating earnings of 90 cents a share beat by seven cents the average estimate of 18 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

"Improved operating margins across the company" benefited Lincoln, said Randy Binner, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, in a note to investors today.

Lincoln has been profitable for two straight quarters after a net loss of more than $1.2 billion in the nine months ended June 30. The insurer returned to profitability in the third quarter on the rebound of stock and bond markets after tapping the Treasury Department rescue program and private investors for funds.

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