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CNO Upgraded to Strong Buy

Zacks Equity Research

On Apr 5, 2013, Zacks Investment Research upgraded CNO Financial Group Inc. (CNO) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

CNO Financial has delivered positive earnings surprises in the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 17.58%. Moreover, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter for 2013 stands at 20 cents per share, up 36% year over year. This multi-line insurance company is expected to declare its first-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Apr 24.

The company follows an efficient capital deployment policy. On Mar 28, CNO Financial announced that it completed a tender offer to repurchase $59.3 million 7% convertible senior debentures at a premium price of $125.9 million. The company expects to repurchase another $125–$175 million in 2013, taking the total securities buyback during the year to $250–$350 million. Improved credit ratings, strong investment portfolio and improved debt maturity profile are the other positives.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CNO Financial’s operating earnings in 2013 stands at $1.03 per share, up 48.7% over 2012. Most estimates were revised upward over the past 60 days, leading to a 6.2% increase in the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Even the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 increased 7.2% over the past 60 days to $1.19. This represents a year-over-year increase of 15.79%.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other stocks in the insurance sector that are worth a look are AEGON N.V. (AEG) – Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), AXA Group (AXAHY) – Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Cigna Corp. (CI) – Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Read the Full Research Report on CI

Read the Full Research Report on AEG

Read the Full Research Report on CNO

Read the Full Research Report on AXAHY

Zacks Investment Research

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