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What: Shares of insurer Genworth Financial (NYS: GNW) were skyrocketing today, gaining as much as 20% in intraday trading after the company released third-quarter earnings and announced plans to sell part of its Australian mortgage-insurance business.
So what: When it comes to quarterly earnings, "first things first" means looking at how results compared with analysts' estimates. For the quarter, Genworth reported $0.21 in operating income per share, up from $0.06 last year and edging out the $0.19 that Wall Street expected. Total revenue, on the other hand, fell 5% and was short of analysts' targets.
But what may be driving most of the bullishness on Genworth's stock today is the company's plan to sell part of its Australian mortgage insurance business in an IPO. This would monetize part of that healthy business, give it access to capital markets to fund growth, and free up capital for the rest of the company.
Now what: It's positive news all around for Genworth today. Third-quarter results looked good, the U.S. mortgage business performed marginally better, and there's the potential for new capital coming in from the Australia IPO. But while there's every reason for investors to be excited about the news today, the U.S. housing market still has a long trudge toward healthy and, as a result, Genworth still has plenty of work still ahead.
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