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MarketPulse: Brighthouse Fires up Financials on Earnings Beat

Investing.com - A surge in shares of Brighthouse Financial fueled gains in the broader financials sector after the bank topped earnings estimates.

Brighthouse Financial (NASDAQ:BHF) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.68 a share, above estimates compiled by Investing.com of $1.57 a share. But revenue of $2.01 billion fell just short of estimates for $2.03 billion. Its shares rallied 14%.

The strong beat on the bottom line was helped by a 27% surge in annuity sales in the fourth quarter.

But some analysts said Brighthouse may be too reliant on its annuity segment to drive profits and pointed to the lack of a dividend on offer as another headwind.

"Our view is tempered by some near-term profit pressures and by BHF's nearly monoline business mix heavily dependent on annuities, a line of business prone to volatility," said CFRA, an independent research provider. "Brighthouse also does not pay a cash dividend, while many peers yield 3% or more."

T. Rowe Price Group (NASDAQ:TROW) rose 4% after it released preliminary data showing assets under management at the end of January increased by 8% to $1.04 trillion from the end of December.

Client transfers from mutual funds to other portfolios, including trusts and separate accounts, were $2.7 billion in January 2019.

The upbeat results come a day after the company said it had cut its stake in Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) by half in the fourth quarter of last year.

Loews (NYSE:L) rose 3.5%, paring some of its losses from Monday, when it swung to a surprise loss owing to a 27% surge in insurance claims and policyholders' benefits costs.

The company reported a loss of 53 cents a share, confounding estimates compiled by Investing.com for a profit of 53 cents a share.

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