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Stock Analyst Update

The Week in Stocks: No Surprises from GE

Plus, Esurance prospers, shopping center REITs go on buying spree, and more.

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General Electric's 2Q as Expected
There were no major surprises in General Electric's (GE) second-quarter earnings report, says Morningstar analyst Peter Smith. Strength in GE's capital services business overcame softness in the company's NBC Universal and industrial segments, netting it a 9% year-over-year revenue increase. As such, Smith is leaving his fair value estimate unchanged.
 Full Analyst Report: GE

Internet Auto Insurer Esurance's Prospects Look Strong
Morningstar analyst Justin Fuller met recently with executives at White Mountains' (WTM) auto insurance subsidiary, Esurance, and came away more confident that the unit's growth prospects remain strong. Esurance uses a stripped-down, Internet-based operating model to target younger drivers seeking cheap auto coverage without a hassle. Its electronic approach keeps costs and, thus, premiums down, thereby attracting price-conscious customers. What's more, larger players aren't likely to encroach on this profitable, fast-growing niche due to previous underwriting missteps as well as their desire to sell more-lucrative bundled products that combine homeowner's and umbrella policies. As such, Fuller expects Esurance to clock 25% growth annually through 2011.
 Full Analyst Report: White Mountains

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