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Insurance titan

Prudential Financial

(PRU) - Get Prudential Financial, Inc. Report

said it should earn $5.40 to $5.60 a share this year, provided the broader market performs as the company expects.

Prudential's estimate assumes that the

S&P 500

will rise 8% in 2006. The outlook was delivered along with the company's financial results for the fourth quarter. Prudential said it earned $377 million, or 78 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with a profit of $317 million and 64 cents a share for the same period in 2004.

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Adjusted operating income, which excludes certain items, rose to $1.06 a share from 96 cents a year earlier. The most recent quarter's operating income includes costs of about 40 cents a share related to the agreement to form a retail securities brokerage joint venture with

Wachovia

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.

Revenue rose to $5.82 billion from $5.21 billion last year, the Newark, N.J., company said.

Analysts had been looking for earnings of $1.22 for the fourth quarter and $5.57 for fiscal 2006.

"The fourth quarter brought to a close Prudential's first four years as a public company. Our strong results for 2005 exceeded the challenging financial goals we set for the year, and we begin the new year confident that the company's prospects remain bright," the company said Wednesday.

Prudential's shares fell $1.14 to $74.50 in late trading. The stock had gained 84 cents in the regular session.