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posted fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday that beat Wall Street's forecasts.

The financial services holding company said its operating profits totaled $41.1 million, or 13 cents a share, excluding one-time items, up from $39.3 million, or 12 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Three analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

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were calling for the company to earn 8 cents in the quarter.

Shares of Conseco, which is based in Carmel, Ind., fell 4 cents, or 0.29%, to $13.86 in regular session

New York Stock Exchange

trading Tuesday.

The company reiterated that it expects to earn between 90 cents and $1.10 for 2001. Breaking that down by quarters, the company said it expects to earn 13 cents to 16 cents in the first quarter, 19 cents to 23 cents in the second quarter, 25 cents to 31 cents in the third quarter, and 33 cents to 40 cents for the fourth quarter.

The company also said it will also be active in the near future. "In the next week, we will settle the conversion of $500 million of trust preferred securities into common equity. And, in the next 10 days, we will close on the well-publicized sale of the riverboat casino, which will produce a pre-tax gain of $170 million in the first quarter of 2001."