Hartford Financial Services Shares Popped: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of insurance and financial services provider Hartford Financial Services (NYS: HIG) are rallying 10% today following the company's fourth-quarter earnings report.

So what: Results for the fourth quarter highlighted an adjusted profit of $0.69, which handily surpassed Wall Street's expectations for a profit of $0.59. However, net income was down significantly over the year-ago period as Hartford was forced to shore up its loss reserves. On the bright side, pricing in its commercial property division is improving.

Now what: The real story here is that no one expected Hartford's results to be very good -- and they turned out to better than expected. While Hartford hasn't exactly inspired the bulls to buy en masse, at just six times forward earnings the stock merits further consideration. The entire insurance sector is beginning to pique my interest because of its cheap valuation, and we can easily add Hartford to that list.

Craving more input? Start by adding Hartford Financial Services to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep track of the latest news with the company.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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