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reported fourth-quarter earnings today that met Wall Street's slightly lowered estimates.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the insurance company reported operating income of $148.6 million, or 61 cents a diluted share, excluding investment gains and losses and one-time items, up from $137.2 million, or 57 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Fourteen analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

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expected the company to earn 61 cents a share.

The company also posted fourth-quarter revenue, excluding realized gains and losses, of $2.31 billion, down from $2.35 billion in the same quarter one year ago.

Shares of UnumProvident closed at $28.46 in

New York Stock Exchange

trading today, up 57 cents, or 2%.