Financial Stocks Seeing Trading Action as Earnings are Digested

Associated Estates Realty Corporation (NASDAQ:AEC) reported its results for the fourth quarter. The company’s funds from operations (FFO) rose 8.3% from the year earlier quarter to 26 cents. FFO, a measure of performance of a real estate investment trust (REIT), removes the profit-reducing effect that depreciation has on earnings. It fell short of the consensus estimate of 27 cents per share.

“Fundamentals in the apartment business remain strong and Associated Estates is well positioned for 2012 and beyond,” said Jeffrey I. Friedman, president and chief executive officer.

Competitors to Watch: Colonial Properties Trust (NYSE:CLP), UDR, Inc. (NYSE:UDR), Camden Property Trust (NYSE:CPT), Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR), BRE Properties, Inc. (NYSE:BRE), Mid-America Apartment (NYSE:MAA), AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (NYSE:AVB), Home Properties, Inc. (NYSE:HME), Post Properties, Inc. (NYSE:PPS), and Apartment Investment and Management Co. (NYSE:AIV).

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Reported a loss of $425.4 million ($1.45 per diluted share) in the quarter. The accident and health insurance company had net income of $225.8 million or 71 cents per share in the year earlier quarter. Revenue rose 0.5% to $2.6 billion from the year earlier quarter. Unum Group reported adjusted net income of 78 cents per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of 75 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $2.59 billion.

“I am very pleased with our continued ability to deliver strong underlying operating results,” said Thomas R. Watjen, president and chief executive officer. “We remain focused on growing in our targeted markets and generating solid profitability in our core businesses, while at the same time maintaining a strong balance sheet and capital position. Exiting long-term care further sharpens our focus around businesses consistent with the strategic direction we have set for our Company. Our disciplined approach is working, as even in this difficult environment we achieved solid operating earnings per share growth in 2011 and finished the year with our highest level of risk-based capital.”

Competitors to Watch: Principal Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:PFG), AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL), CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:CNO), CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI), WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP), American Independence Corp. (NASDAQ:AMIC), Universal American Corp. (NYSE:UAM), Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM), Triple-S Management Corp. (NYSE:GTS), and HealthMarkets, Inc. (NYSE:UCI).

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com