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Goldman Upgrades Life Insurance Sector

A Goldman Sachs analyst upgrades U.S. large-cap life insurers to neutral from cautious.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Report

analyst Christopher Giovanni upgraded U.S. large-cap life insurers to neutral from cautious.

Giovanni said life insurers are positioned for growth in the cyclical retirement market and capital allocation is driving "significant outperformance" in the space.

In particular, Giovanni recommended

Principal

(PFG) - Get Principal Financial Group, Inc. Report

as a buy because he believes that new regulation will lead to industry consolidation and Principal is likely to come out on top. He added "share repurchases to begin in 2011, augmenting EPS growth."

Giovanni also upgraded

Hartford Financial

(HIG) - Get Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. Report

TheStreet Recommends

and

StanCorp

(SFG)

from sell to neutral because management changes and growth opportunities should help boost results in the second half of the year.

--Written by Maria Woehr in New York.

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