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Allstate Earnings Surpass Targets

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posted fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded analysts' expectations, helped by improved profits in its main car and home insurance business, as well as its life insurance unit.

The Northbrook, Ill.-based insurer said second-quarter earnings, excluding restructuring and acquisition charges, were $589 million, or 80 cents a share, compared with $524 million, or 66 cents a share, for the same period in 1999. According to

First Call/Thomson Financial

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, 22 analysts produced a consensus estimate of 72 cents a share for the quarter.

Quarterly revenue rose to $7.2 billion from $7 billion a year ago. Allstate said the chief component of overall revenue, property-casualty premiums, dipped 2% to $5.3 billion from $5.4 billion in 1999, a result of the elimination of unprofitable policies from the company's underwriting book.

Shares of Allstate closed Tuesday at $40.04 on the

New York Stock Exchange

, close to its 52-week high of $44.75. The shares have a 52-week low of $17.19.