Aon

( AOC) dipped after the Chicago-based insurer reported a drop in third-quarter earnings. The company posted income of $106 million, or 32 cents a share, compared with $122 million, or 36 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue increased 7% to $2.17 billion. Excluding items, income from continuing operations came to 44 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for earnings of 48 cents a share on $2.18 billion in revenue. Shares slipped 25 cents to $34.45.

UnumProvident

(UNM) - Get Report

gained after the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based insurer beat Wall Street's earning expectations. The company posted a loss of $63.7 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with income of $52.6 million, or 17 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding items, the company earned 46 cents a share. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 41 cents a share. UnumProvident raised its guidance for 2006 earnings, excluding items, to a range of $1.73 to $1.76 a share. Shares were trading up 72 cents, or 3.6%, to $20.68.

Conseco

(CNO) - Get Report

fell after the Carmel, Ind.-based insurer missed Wall Street's third-quarter expectations. The company posted income of $38.9 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with $68.4 million, or 42 cents a share, a year ago. Sales climbed 14% to $91.6 million. Operating income came to $52.8 million, or 35 cents a share. Wall Street was looking for operating earnings of 42 cents a share. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the company said it expects the performance of its core businesses to approximate third-quarter results. Shares were down 67 cents, or 3%, to $19.78.

National Financial Partners

(NFP)

soared even though the company reported a 2.4% decline in third-quarter profit, as it continues to incur legal expenses associated with an ongoing investigation into the so-called life settlements business. NFP earned $16.5 million, or 41 cents a share, compared to $16.9 million, or 44 cents a share, in the year ago period. Revenue at the firm, which specializes in buying-up insurance companies and other financial-services firms, rose 13% to $267 million. Operating earnings were unchanged from a year ago at $26.7 million, or 66 cents a share. On that basis, NFP beat the consensus estimate of 64 cents a share. Shares gained $6.22, or 16%, to $44.36.

Investment firm

Friedman Billings Ramsey

(FBR)

gained even though the company had a dismal third quarter, posting a $67.4 million loss in the period. The Virginia-based firm, which has seen its stock crumble over the past two years, lost 39 cents a share in the quarter, compared with a profit of $23.0 million, or 14 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue plunged in the quarter to $82.4 million, down from $340 million a year ago. But the firm said it expects the revenue picture to brighten in the fourth-quarter. Shares were trading up 60 cents, or 8%, $8.

Profits nearly tripled at the

Intercontinental Exchange

(ICE) - Get Report

, but shares of the red-hot exchange fell anyway. In the third quarter, the six-year-old electronic exchange, which specializes in energy futures, made $43.6 million, or 73 cents a share, compared to $16.8 million, or 5 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue more than doubled to $94.7 million, yet came in just under analysts' expectations of $95.1 million. Analysts predicted that the ICE would earn 72 cents a share. Shares were trading down $1.25 cents, or 1.5%, to $83.65.