Shares of Genworth Financial Inc. soared more than 14 percent on Friday, after the insurance company reported a fourth-quarter profit that exceeded Wall Street forecasts.
THE SPARK: Genworth posted a profit of $107 million, or 22 cents per share, compared with a loss of $161 million, or 33 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Analysts had been expecting a profit of 19 cents a share for the latest quarter, according to FactSet.
THE BIG PICTURE: Chief Executive Michael Fraizer described 2011 as a year of "repositioning," moving the company through an "uncertain environment" and improving focus by shedding some business units and streamlining expenses.
The fourth-quarter earnings were driven by gains in U.S. life insurance, but partially offset by a loss in U.S. mortgage insurance stemming from the continued U.S. housing crisis.
THE SHARES: In heavy morning trading, Genworth shares jumped $1.16 or 14 percent, to $9.20, after peaking at $9.61 earlier in the day.
Over the past 52 weeks, the company's shares have traded between $4.80 and $14.44. Since late September, the shares have risen about 63 percent.